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Native Attitudes Toward the Police

NCJ Number
Canadian Journal of Criminology Volume: 22 Issue: 3 Dated: (July 1980) Pages: 354-359
D Skoog; L Roberts; E D Boldt
Date Published
6 pages
The attitudes toward the police held by 240 Canadian Native Americans and by 339 white settlers are compared.
The native and white sample populations were selected by a quota sampling procedure from three Manitoba communities, which represented three levels of native exposure to white society: (1) bush or traditional, (2) transitional, and (3) urban or modern. The 11-item attitude exploration, covering such items as respect for police, adequacy of police training, police concern for the average citizen, and police honesty, was conducted by native interviewers for native respondents and by white interviewers for white respondents. The statistical analysis of the responses indicates consistently and clearly more favorable attitudes towards the police on the part of the white subjects. For instance, over 91 percent of the white respondents claimed that police provide equivalent or better service to their neighborhood than to others, while only 74 percent of the natives expressed similar opinions. Almost 79 percent of the whites agreed that police officers have a genuine concern for the average citizen as compared to 45 percent of the natives. Responses to the statement that police are more interested in making arrests than in doing justice was the only area where natives (52 percent disagreement) held more favorable attitudes than whites (25 percent disagreement). The conclusion emphasizes that although natives held less favorable attitudes than whites toward police, the native responses should not be considered as negative in an absolute sense. Since the majority of native responses fall either in the neutral or favorable categories, their attitudes are more accurately described as ambivalent. The study includes the questionnaire, one table, and 22 references, a summary in French is provided.