Strong public support for departing chief Blair: poll

But even split on police board's decision not to renew his contract

Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair is leaviing with a high approval rating, according to a new poll.

Forum Research found that 61 per cent of the 843 Torontonians they asked approve of Blair, who has been chief for 10 years. Thirty-eight per cent of people called him a “good police chief.”

Those who are old, women, wealthy and voted for Mayor John Tory back in October are Blair’s strongest supporters with over 60 per cent.

However, those polled were evenly split on the decision made last July by the Toronto Police Services Board to not renew Blair’s contract. Forty-six per cent of people agree with the decision, while 43 per cent disagreed. Approval was strongest among those who are young, male, middle income and Doug Ford voters. Eleven per cent had no opinion.

Blair had a difficult relationship with former Mayor Rob Ford, whom he had invesigated on allegations on drug offences.

Over half (51 per cent) of respondents thought Blair should have charged former Mayor Ford with drug offences, while 34 per cent disagree and 15 per cent had no opinion.

“The chief will leave with his head high,” said Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff. “The one thing he might have done to endear himself even more to the city, however, was apparently to bust the mayor when he had a chance.”