The 2011 Holiday Check Stop Program

Are Police providing an accurate interpretation?  
When I read the headline “Peggers choosing safety and sobriety, police say“,  I thought to myself, that is good news.  The article went on to say, “Winnipeggers appear to be getting the message about drinking and driving, the Winnipeg Police Service said Monday, after releasing the numbers from its 2011 festive-season Check Stop campaign.”
Lets have a look at those numbers and see if there is a reason to rejoice.
Table 1  compares the 2010 Check Stop numbers to those of 2011:
Table 1

2010

2011

Vehicles stopped

2470

1900

Drivers Charged

98

57

Percentage of Drivers Charged

4%

3%

This is good, yes?   Well it is and it isn’t.   Of all the drivers stopped in 2010, 4% were charged.  That number went down by 1 % to 3% in 2011.    The real issue is, why is it that with substantial increases in resources in 2011, only 1,900 drivers were stopped in 2011?  I suggest it’s a matter of priorities.  Stopping 2,470 drivers as was done in 2010 would have required more resources – resources the Winnipeg Police Service was not prepared to dedicate to this cause.

With a charge rate of 3% of all drivers stopped, had the police stopped 2470 drivers in 2011 as they did in 2010 the number of drivers charged  would have been in the range of 74.  That’s 17 more impaired drivers off the road during a very short span of time.

To get a more complete picture of impaired driving trend one needs to examine the issue over a period of years, not just a period of weeks.

Table 2 depicts the data between 2000 and 2010 for impaired driving and refusal to provide a breath sample for Winnipeg.  The table highlights the following:

1.  The number of drivers who refuse to provide a sample of their breath has decreased dramatically since 2000;

2.  There was a significant decrease in the number of impaired drivers arrested from 2000 to 2006;

3.  The arrest numbers were essentially static in 2007 and 2008;

4.  In both 2009 and 2010 impaired driving arrest numbers rose 11%.

Table 2

Refusals

Impaired

Total

Change +/-  *

2000

178

1080

1258

2001

59

957

1016

-21%

2002

40

761

801

-21%

2003

37

729

766

-4%

2004

42

679

721

-6%

2005

11

565

576

-20%

2006

9

470

479

-17%

2007

9

476

485

+1%

2008

14

462

476

-2%

2009

1

526

527

+11%

2010**

8

577

585

+11%

Data obtained from 2000-2010 Winnipeg Police Annual Reports
* percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number
** The 2010 numbers shown are based on the 2010 Annual Report which has been withdrawn and will be reissued.
Before being able to say with any certainty that Winnipeggers are getting the message about drinking and driving, we need first to see a reversal of the upward trend in 2009 and 2010.  The limited data from the most recent Check Stop program does not warrant such a conclusion.
When the Winnipeg Police Service releases its 2011 Annual Report (hopefully before December 28th,  2012) we will have a better idea as to whether  Winnipeggers are indeed getting the message.  If the upward trend experienced in 2009 and 2010 continues, then obviously the claim by the Winnipeg Police Service is not supported by the evidence.

Mayor Sam Katz’s Irresponsible Comment Quoted at WPA Arbitration Hearing

On January 17th 2012 I wrote a post about Mayor Katz’s irresponsible comments to the media.

An  article by Bartley Kives quoted the mayor as saying  “I can guarantee none of us would do that job for what they  get paid”.  This quote was in reference to Winnipeg police officers.

In my original post I suggested that the comment was inappropriate, especially during a contract negotiation year, and that the mayor’s remark would likely be used by the Winnipeg Police  Association to bolster its argument for a hefty pay increase.  I highly doubt the Mayor would make such a comment in relation to an upcoming negotiation that involved his own personal  money as opposed to public money.

On January 31st  2012 I briefly attended the labour arbitration hearing between the City of Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Police Association.

The day started with Keith Labossiere, the lawyer representing the Winnipeg Police Association, outlining for the panel, the reason why the Association believes its members  should receive an 11.5 % pay increase over two years.   Mr. Labossiere began his presentation by repeating the Mayor’s statement:

I can guarantee none of us would do that job for what they get paid”,  as the lead in for his argument.

Mr. Labossiere then launched into his presentation which gave me a real sense of  deja vu.  Having sat through many arbitrations previously I quickly realized the Association would be relying on the same arguments they have been using at arbitration hearings for the last decade.

I suppose, though, from the Association’s perspective, ‘why would you change your lure as long as the fish keep biting’.  The argument has worked reasonably well in the past.

The arbitration hearings are slated to continue  through  February 3rd 2012,  Millennium Room, Winnipeg Convention Centre and February 6th & 7th 2012,  Ambassador Room, Canad Inns Polo Park.

The hearings run from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. and are open to the public.

What’s In a Relationship

The Winnipeg Police Service has replaced its longstanding motto,  Community Commitment with “Building Relationships“.

The following are some comments that I’ve heard about the Winnipeg Police “Building Relationships” motto that add some humour to an otherwise serious subject.

Scenario 1

Upon being arrested and placed in the back of a patrol unit a suspect  was heard to say “I don’t like where this relationship is going“.

Scenario 2

In June of last  year a suspect attempted to end his relationship with police when he escaped from a holding room in the District 6 Police Station.  The relationship was rekindled when police re-arrested the suspect.

Scenario 3

Another suspect  thought his relationship with police was going sour.  Police managed to  spice  up the relationship with a long burst of pepper spray.

Scenario 4

A recently tasered inner city resident described his relationship with the Police Service as  “electrifying“.

Scenario 5

The Professional Standards Unit, formerly known as the Internal Investigation Unit,  could also be called the  Failed Relationships Unit.

Scenario 6

One recently convicted gang member doing time at Stony Mountain Penitentiary described his relationship with police as “rocky“.

Scenario 7

Now that the Winnipeg Police Service has entered the relationship building business, eHarmony, the online dating service, will no doubt respond to this encroachment  by changing its motto to   “To Serve and Protect“.

Scenario 8

One repeat criminal offender described his relationship with police as “ long-term and on going“.

If you think policing business should be strictly ‘business’, lighten up.  There is a lot of humour in policing.  As one former Chief often said ‘you need to get a least one good laugh a day”.

Will the Winnipeg Police Association’s Endorsement of The Mayor Become a Cost to Taxpayers?

Perhaps a better question would be, how much will it cost us and are we about to be “SAMMED” AGAIN?

During the 2010 civic election the Winnipeg Police Association endorsed Mayor Sam Katz.  The announcement that the WPA was endorsing the Mayor coincidentally came on the same day that the Mayor announced he was adding 58 additional police and 19 staff positions  to the Police Service complement.  The  timing was  no doubt a coincidence (not) but it’s  one of those coincidences that voters have come to expect when an incumbent is running for reelection.  

Whenever unions support politicians there is some expectation that there will be a return on their investment.   Sometimes it is  favourable legislation, sometimes it is the creation of more positions which result in a direct benefit, in this case an increase in union dues (77 positions translates into approximately $40,000.00 in union dues – not exactly chump change).   In Canada one does not necessarily think about politicians meeting in hotel rooms and receiving brown paper envelopes stuffed with cash (e.g.  Karlheinz Schreiber and  Brian Mulroney) as a common occurrence.  Usually, at least in the cases that come to public attention it is less brazen.  The fact remains that when politicians make deals in return for support in the form of an endorsement there is  usually some form of quid pro quo.  Something is given, something is received.  Politics is not a zero sum game and politicians and their supporters are not totally altruistic. The unfortunate thing is that the  residual losses required to offset the gains realized by the players (in this case the mayor and the union) are absorbed by the public.

The Winnipeg Police Association already received what many observers consider to be, at the very least, a “down payment” in return for their support – that being the addition of 77 dues paying union positions.

Further, the association has been advocating for years, without success,  to amend the Winnipeg Police Regulations to allow for discipline records to be expunged.  A  few months  ago the association received what could be viewed as a ‘second payment’.    This time it was in the form of favourable legislation resulting in a change to the police regulations as it related to the expunging of discipline records.

Will the Winnipeg Police Association be receiving anything else?

They just might.  In comments to the media the mayor said that police in Winnipeg are under paid and  is quoted as saying, “I can guarantee none of us would do that job for what they get paid”.   Well, perhaps the mayor wouldn’t (he has never struck me as police officer material), but I think many others would, as illustrated by the number of applicants for police positions.   That comment coming from the lips of the mayor during a year when the City will be negotiating a contract with the Winnipeg Police Association could be worth a few bucks to the association.

With negotiations now at a deadlock, arbitration is just around the corner.  I’m willing to wager (only with the approval of the Manitoba Lotteries Commission of course) that  the Association’s lawyers will be using the mayor’s quote as the centerpiece in their attempt to  justify a larger pay increase.

If that scenario were to play out and the arbitrator were to be persuaded to up the award  by, say, a quarter to a half per cent, what would that cost taxpayers?  Answer:  in the range of $375,000.00 to $750,000.00, and that would just be in the first year.  Wage awards, because they are cumulative, are gifts that keep on giving.

That begs the question:  was the mayor’s comment a naive shot from the hip,  a mere slip of the lip or did we just get SAMMED again?

Flaws in the 2010 Winnipeg Police Annual Report- Part V

Winnipeg Police to issue an amended 2010 Annual Report

It wasn’t my intention at the outset that there would be this many parts to my original post on the flaws in the Winnipeg Police 2010 Annual Report ….. but as they say in policing, you go where the evidence takes you.

In response to the number of errors discovered in the 2010 Annual Report, the Winnipeg Police Service has announced that it will be reissuing the report (see press release below).  The question remains, however, how is it that the high-priced help at the Winnipeg Police Service did not spot these errors?  One can only conclude that due diligence, although promised, is not always delivered.

Until the amended report is issued the question of whether crime in Winnipeg went up or down in 2010, and by how much, remains unanswered.

  Thursday, January 12, 2012

WINNIPEG POLICE SERVICE 2010 ANNUAL REPORT ERRORS IDENTIFIED, AMENDMENT PENDING
The Winnipeg Police Service 2010 Annual Report was made available to the public on December 28th, 2011. Following its release a statistical error come to light that will result in the Service releasing an amended version of our 2010 Annual Report.
The amendments will require a change to the Criminal Code Offences by Month Chart and the Total Criminal Code Offences Chart. Once this work is completed, we will update the charts in question, add footnotes in our Annual Report to clearly explain the changes and advise the public when the updated Report is available.
Background:
This year, effort was undertaken to ensure the manner in which we report statistics is consistent with Statistics Canada reporting through its Police Reported Crime Statistics in Canada 2010 Report.
In 2009, Statistics Canada had amended some of its reported crime categories. This impacts on how we report crime statistics as well.
As a result, the Service introduced a new “Not District Specific” category for reported crimes.
Crimes that appear under this column may include incidents where the crimes occurred over multiple districts. This category also includes incidents where a division, location or area was not identified due to data entry error or would be classified as “City at Large” incidents.  An example of such a City at Large incident would be a stolen license plate.
This change ensures greater consistency between our reported numbers and the numbers reported by Statistics Canada.   
 
The creation of this category resulted in an unusually high number of Theft – Over $5,000 and Theft – $5,000 and Under being reported as “Not District Specific”.
We recently learned this may have resulted from an unidentified programming anomaly that we believe resulted from the creation of a new reporting code.
Representatives from both the Winnipeg Police Service and Statistics Canada are working to resolve this matter. We will update the public as soon as this matter is resolved.
Percentage Change Errors
 
The Total and Grand Total data that initially appeared in the 2010 Annual Report reflected a month-to-month percentage change. The pending revision will show the correct year-over-year percentage change calculations.
We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

For further information contact either: 
Constable Natalie Aitken, Public Information Officer
Constable Jason Michalyshen, Public Information Officer

Office: (204)986-3061
Fax: (204) 986-3267
Email: WPS-PIO@Winnipeg.ca 
Web: 
www.winnipeg.ca/Police

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The Effect of Unauthorized Speed Limit Signs

In response to a sign posted by Wise Up Winnipeg,  Mayor Sam Katz said:

“I think everybody should know better than just go and start doing things on their own erecting signs that are not only against the Highway Traffic Act and violate it but more importantly could have ramifications when it comes to safety”.  

On the other hand…..

 

 

 

12 01 14   Wording changed from ‘photo radar’ to ‘radar’

 

Flaws in the 2010 Winnipeg Police Annual Report – Part IV

There are a lot of parts to this fiasco and I don’t think it’s quite finished yet.

This post presents a table that provides a 2009/2010 side by side comparison of many of the statistic categories in the Winnipeg Police Annual Report.  The table was created for informational purposes but I will comment on several of the categories.

1.  Police to Population Ratio

In the 2009 Annual Report the “authorized” police complement was used (674,800/1348) to calculate the ratio at 1:501.  The 2010 Annual  Report used the “actual” police complement (684,061/1400) with a resulting ratio of 1:488.  Had the actual complement been used in 2009 the ratio would have been 1:478 and had the authorized complement been used in 2010, the ratio would have been 1:503.

When calculating ratios that are carried forward from year to year for comparison purposes it is important to apply the same rules from year to year.  If the approach is changed a note should be attached to identify the change, and the purpose of the change.

2. Police to Staff Ratio

The Winnipeg Police Service police to staff ratio has lagged behind that of other major Canadian Police Departments for years and is an issue that needs to be addressed.  The 9% increase in 2010 seems to address the issue to a degree.  What the report does not indicate is what portion of that change reflects the addition of the new staff category of Cadets.  The addition of this new employee category should have been noted in the report.

3.  Total Crimes

No matter how you cut it, the 2010 Annual Report lists 61,680 reported crimes  compared to 56,427 in 2009.  That works out to a 9% increase according to the ‘rithmatic.  Note thus far that only the English version of the report has been released – the French version has yet to be released.

4. Persons Charged and Clearance Rate

The number of persons charged dropped from 16,525 in 2009 to 13,604 in 2010 representing a decrease of 18%.  The clearance rate, though, is shown as increasing by 1% from 24 to 25 from 2009 to 2010.  That may bear some closer examination since, generally, there is a correlation between the number of persons charged and the clearance rate .

Category

2009

2010

Variance 2009-2010   (%)

Demographics/Cost
Population

674,800

684,061

+1%

Events for Service

162,349

162,678

No change*

Police to Population Ratio

1:501

1:488

-3%

Operating Budget
Tax Supported Expenses

$181,837,268.00

$191,542,030.00

+5%

Per Capita Cost

$269.47

$280.00

+4%

STAFFING
Sworn Officers (Authorized)

1348

1361

No change*

Sworn Officers (Actual)

1411

1400

No change*

Non-sworn Staff (Authorized)

368

371

No change*

Non-Sworn Staff (Actual)

413

450

+9%

Male Officers

1213

1200

No change*

Female Officers

198

200

No change*

CRIMINAL CODE OFFENCES
Against Persons

10,698

10,432

-3%

Against Property

40,907

46,540

+14%

Other Crimes

4822

4708

-2%

Total Crimes

56,427

61,680

+9%

Persons Charged

16,525

13,604

-18%

Clearance Rate

24%

25%

+1%

 TRAFFIC ACT OFFENCES
Police Issued

53,245

58,600

+10%

Photo Radar

110,658

96,594

-15%

Offence Notices Total

163,903

155,194

-6%

Fatalities

13

20

+54%

PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS UNIT
Criminal Files Initiated

28

25

 -11%***

Criminal Files Sustained

0

0

No change

Regulatory Files Initiated

24

24

No change*

Regulatory Files Sustained

1

2

+100%**

Data Source – Winnipeg Police Service 2009 and 2010 Annual Reports

*  no change means the variance was less than 1%

** when the numbers are small a large percentage change has limited meaning in a statistical sense

*** correction from original version of this post

For the most part this post concludes my examination of the statistical portion of the 2010 Annual Report with a caveat.  A new category “Multiple Districts” was added to the  Highway Traffic Act Offences (by District) table.   As with the other new categories introduced in the 2010 Annual Report, there is no note to describe the change.