MA Research Paper


Master of Arts




Dr. Sean Waite


The public’s confidence in police is a crucial factor to a police department’s ability to serve its community effectively. However, not everyone in a democratic society feels confident in the police’s ability to protect and serve their community. Factors including race, gender, age, education, income, neighbourhood crime perceptions, and past discrimination have all been found to have significant impacts on an individual’s confidence in police. These factors have not been evaluated in tandem, nor have they been adequately reviewed in a Canadian context. Using the 2014 Canadian General Social Survey, this study answers the following three questions: 1) How does confidence in police vary by education? 2) Do neighbourhood perceptions of crime and household income affect confidence in police? Using Kimberlé Crenshaw’s theory of intersectionality to identify interacting and multiplying dimensions of disadvantage, this paper further explore 3) how does confidence in police differ across visible minorities and immigrants with similar levels of education? Through descriptive statistics, binary and ordered logistic regressions, this study found that, overall, education was positively associated with confidence in police; individuals who believe they live in high crime neighbourhoods were less likely to have confidence in the police; and household income negatively impacts confidence in police for those who make under $79,999 and visible minorities. Lastly, this study found that immigrants with higher education were less likely to be confident in the police, a finding revealed through an intersectional analysis relative to white, native-born individuals. Police services and policymakers may find these results useful to improve community perceptions and relationships with the public.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Available for download on Wednesday, August 17, 2022