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What do you think of the NWPD?: New West police launch public survey

You may get a letter in the mail asking you to take part.
To serve and protect: The New Westminster Police Department is conducting a public survey to see what New West residents think of its work. Photo Julie MacLellan

The New Westminster Police Department wants to know what residents think of its work.

The NWPD is launching a public opinion survey that will be led by Ipsos, a global market research company.

Randomly selected residents will get a letter in the mail inviting them to participate in the survey — so, if you happen to be one of them, the police department wants you to know that it’s a legitimate survey.

“The New Westminster Police Department is seeking a clear picture of residents’ opinions about the services it provides,” said a post from the department. “This survey will allow the New Westminster Police Department to establish a baseline of public perception, which can be used to help us measure public opinion over time.”

The survey is designed to provide a statistically valid, representative sample of public opinion.

Jennifer Miller, the City of New Westminster’s manager of public engagement, noted at the July 25 police board meeting that the survey is set to start in early August.

The methodology involves a letter being mailed to New Westminster addresses with a URL and a unique code, following “best practices” so the city gets the most representative, statistically valid results possible. Ipsos will have a minimum sample size and won’t stop collecting the data until it hits that number, Miller noted.

Police board member Mary Trentadue questioned whether there will be any communication to follow up and encourage people to participate in the survey.

Miller said the communication so far has been just to let people know the survey is happening, so they know it’s legitimate.

Discussion about the survey arose during a conversation about the police budget process for 2024 — though Miller noted the public survey won’t include questions specific to the budget.

She said the survey will use a series of questions developed by the federal government.

“It’s basically asking all kinds of questions about perceptions about the role of policing in your community, specific to the NWPD,” she told the police board. “No money questions, but I think the results from that could help to inform your budget discussions.”

Chief Const. Dave Jansen said the department is now mandated to run these surveys every three years. He said the core of the survey has mandated questions, but, in future, the department will be able to add on questions if there are other areas it wants to explore.

“I think that’s going to give us some background information that’s really going to help us next year,” he said.

Results of the public survey are expected this October.

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