Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Photo-radar support on decline

But police chief says technology in city for good

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JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Loccal-(See Joe's story)- Commissonaire does photo radar in construction zone on Lagimodiere Blvd Wednesday afternoon- MAy 28, 2008

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JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Loccal-(See Joe's story)- Commissonaire does photo radar in construction zone on Lagimodiere Blvd Wednesday afternoon- MAy 28, 2008

The Winnipeg Police Service won't carry out a media campaign to convince Winnipeggers of the benefits of photo-radar and red-light cameras.

Police chief Devon Clunis and Coun. Scott Fielding, chairman of the Winnipeg Police Board, said they wouldn't support the initiative proposed by a WPS research analyst.

"I'm opposed to spending public dollars to brainwash people on the potential benefits of photo radar," Fielding (St. James-Brooklands) said of the idea presented to the police board Friday, along with the results of a WPS-commissioned survey that found Winnipeggers' support for the technology is waning.

Clunis said it doesn't matter to him whether public support is slipping, adding he's satisfied it deters speeders.

The technology is here to stay, Clunis said, adding he hopes people will adjust their attitudes toward the technology as he hopes they will adjust their driving habits.

"It's the right thing to do right now," Clunis said. "Simply because support is declining, doesn't mean we pull it."

Declining support for photo radar and mobile cameras was one of the findings included in the survey conducted earlier this year.

Jeff Wyman, a WPS research analyst, said the survey found 80 per cent of respondents approve of the use of red-light photo radar and 75 per cent strongly or moderately approve of mobile photo-radar vehicles.

Wyman said approval of both technologies declined from 2007, which he attributed to public backlash and a high-profile media campaign attacking the appropriateness and accuracy of the technology.

Wyman said the city and WPS should consider a media campaign of their own to tout the benefits of the technology.

The WPS telephone survey has been conducted every two or three years, using a professional polling firm, Wyman said.

Wyman said the survey shows more Winnipeggers are satisfied with the WPS and more people believe they are safer in their own neighbourhood than they were last year.

Dimark Research of Winnipeg conducted a random telephone survey from March 11 to 14 of 618 adults.

Respondents were asked about their involvement with, and opinion of, the WPS.

Most questions remained unchanged over six surveys conducted in the past 10 years.

The WPS imposed certain criteria on the survey process, including that 18 per cent of respondents had to come from the North End; 10 per cent from the downtown area; and 52 per cent had to be women.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 7, 2013 B2

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