Thunder Bay Police Services’ Citizen Satisfaction Survey 2018
THUNDER BAY, ONTAIRO – May 23, 2019 (LSN) The Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS) conducts a biennial Citizen Satisfaction Survey (CSS) to gauge citizens’ satisfaction with its services and inform its planning . In fall 2018, TBPS Senior Managers and Dr. Leisa Desmoulins (Lakehead University) re-designed the CSS (2018) to gain broader insights into citizens’ experiences and perceptions of the TBPS. This pilot study sought to: 1. attract non-typical respondents by adding an in-person format to the survey; 2. add trust and confidence statements to augment data on satisfaction; and 3. refine demographic data to discern variances amongst respondents, if any. This report compares online and in-person respondents for demographic differences, experiences, and results on trust and confidence and then makes recommendations to the TBPS for next steps to follow-up the CSS (2018) re-design.
Desmoulins gained approval from Lakehead University’s Research Ethics Board for the survey. Then the TBPS advertised its CSS (2018) through local and regional media sites . Desmoulins developed and conducted online surveys using Survey Monkey software. Next, she trained graduate students to conduct in-person surveys. Both survey formats used the same questions, in the same order, and was open during the same time period (December 5-19, 2018).
In total, 2250 citizens responded to online (N= 2038) and in-person (N=212) formats of the 2018 CSS. To compare these two CSS samples, which have diverse numbers of respondents (2038 versus 212), results are shown in percentages throughout this report. The samples differed demographically. Online respondents identified mostly as white (76%) with few Indigenous respondents (9%). In-person respondents identified as white (46%) and Indigenous (43%). Online respondents were 35 years and older (75%): in-person were 35 years and younger (53%).
Key findings show strong similarities and stark differences between online and in-person respondents. Respondents showed several similarities, they:
- Had contact with TBPS in the past year at similar percentages (57% online; 55% in-person)
- During this contact with TBPS, they were treated with respect (80% online; 80% in-person)
- Perceived Thunder Bay to be somewhat safe overall (39% online; 31% in-person).
Significantly, over three quarters of respondents from both samples reported being treated with respect during their contact with officers and staff of the TBPS within the previous year.
Yet, online and in-person respondents also showed differences in trust and confidence:
- Nearly half of online respondents (47%) strongly agreed that TBPS is sensitive to the needs of MY group: less than one quarter of in-person respondents strongly agreed
- Slightly over half (52%) of online respondents perceive that TBPS does a good job of treating people fairly: slightly under a fifth of in-person respondents (19%) perceive that TBPS does a good job
- Over half of online respondents (56%) had a great deal of confidence in the TBPS: less than a quarter (23%) of in-person respondents had a great deal of confidence in the TBPS
Notably, in-person respondents expressed lower trust and confidence, by a difference of 33 percentage points than online respondents for treating people fairly.
In sum, the CSS (2018) attracted younger and more racialized respondents via in-person surveying, added trust and confidence statements, and found variances amongst online and in-person respondents. The differences in findings may be attributed to demographics; however, this hypothesis needs further study beyond the CSS (2018) pilot testing. Given the key findings, researchers recommend that the TBPS:
1. Consult with racialized youth about ways for the TBPS to build trust with them
2. Repeat the CSS in 2019, seeking a larger sample of diverse in-person respondents
3. Reach out to organizations to advertise the CSS to gain a more representative sample of respondents to the online survey—in -person surveys are expensive and time consuming.