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DRPS looking for your thoughts on the future of policing in the region

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

The Durham Regional Police are starting the process that will create a blueprint for the next three years of the force’s decision making, and they want to know your thoughts.

Launched earlier this month, the DRPS Public Opinion Survey is available online and looks for residents to answer a series of questions around safety and security and their thoughts around the DRPS and their impact on the Durham community.

The information gathered will help inform the next iteration of the DRPS business plan. The current iteration, created in 2017, wraps up its planning timeframe in 2019.

“That input is analyzed and it’s used as an important component of our planning process in terms of setting priorities. It’s also used to allow us to assess citizen’s perceptions of safety and satisfaction with our service and that way we can monitor shifts in attitudes over the years,” says Dave Selby, a spokesperson with DRPS. “It’s extremely valuable to hear directly from the community when we’re putting together the priorities for the next plan.”

The current business plan addresses a series of trends and issues that were identified during consultations in 2016, including the changing demographics of Durham Region, the agin population, the changing nature of policing as crime severity declines, and the emergence of new forms of crime such as cyber crime.

Selby says that the public input is crucial in helping DRPS point out these issues for the future.

“We put a lot of time and energy and effort into developing ours in step with citizens, and local agencies, so that we can really get a good handle on what is important to people and what we should be putting our attention on, what are some of the emerging issues,” he says. “It’s really the blueprint for how we operate and where we put our resources over those three years.”

The current survey will run into October, a lengthy period that Selby says will allow for many citizens to take part, but also to collect a wide array of feedback.

When it comes to crime, Selby says people’s perceptions can be greatly impacted by current events, and with particular tragedies like the recent mass shooting on the Danforth in Toronto, it can have an impact on what type of feedback they provide.

“Priorities for citizens change and sometimes that is a effected by the news and what they see happening around them,” he says.

The survey can be found online at www.drps.ca/survey. Questions about the survey or to request a copy, contact Brad Carter of the DRPS Strategic Planning Unit at 1-888-579-1520 ext. 4394 during regular business hours or send an e-mail to survey@drps.ca.