Features / Halifax / City Matters Halifax: 2013

Serving and protecting: City Matters poll gives Halifax police high marks

The women and men on the front lines of policing are also top of the heap in a new survey.

Respondents to the 2013 City Matters survey gave the Halifax police force the highest ranking of any municipal service.

Halifax Regional Police Deputy Police Chief Bill Moore attributed the positive results to an emphasis on community outreach and communication.

“It's the continued putting our people where the issues are, trying to talk to individuals, being very open, being transparent and try to get to the heart of matters,” he said.

Respondents to the survey, conducted for Metro Halifax and the Greater Halifax Partnership by MQO Research, gave policing an average score of 7.5 out of 10, up from 7.2 in 2012. Fifty-six gave a score of 8 or higher, an increase of seven per cent.

“If people are concerned about crime in the communities, they're certainly not directing their anxiety at the police, that's for sure,” said MQO Research senior counsel Rick Emberley, adding the numbers are strong compared to surveys in other Atlantic cities.

The head of the Halifax Regional Police Association said the positive response is a credit to police officers, who increasingly deal with non-policing issues in the field.

“The members…they're highly educated, they're trained much better than ever before. So they're able to address a lot of issues we never addressed before,” said Sgt. Mark Hartlen.

However, Hartlen warned the police force is approaching a tipping point as public demand for quality service increases. He said in the current “do more with less” climate, senior brass will have to be careful about stretching the force too thin.

“If I have to take on the challenge in leading on mental health and social issues that we never did before, I think we're capable of doing that,” he said. “But I don't want it to be at the cost of something that the public truly doesn't want to compromise on.”

The poll surveyed 600 residents over the age of 18, with a margin of error of plus or minus four per cent, 19 times out of 20.

More on Metronews.ca