Publication - Research and analysis

Coronavirus (COVID-19): international policing responses - part 1 - during lockdown

Published: 27 Jul 2020

This review (part 1) considers international policing approaches and responses to policing the lockdown, up to the 7 May 2020.

53 page PDF

1.1 MB

53 page PDF

1.1 MB

Contents
Coronavirus (COVID-19): international policing responses - part 1 - during lockdown
Spain

53 page PDF

1.1 MB

Spain

Main points

  • Individuals who are found by the police to be away from their homes without any of the reasons above can be fined 601 euros
  • The enforcing of the lockdown regulations is based on the so-called 'gag law' which has been criticised as it is seen as infringe on people's rights to protest and on free speech
  • The Spanish Ombudsman has launched an investigation into whether fines are being issued correctly and proportionately
  • The Spanish Police[132] are also using drones to enforce movement restrictions
  • A geolocalisation app is currently being developed
  • Spain has announced it will relax its confinement measures on 9 May

Legislation

The Spanish Government announced a state of alarm from 14 March over all of the country. Under the state of alarm, the central government in Madrid has all powers. All security forces, including local and regional police forces, are under direct orders of Ministry of Interior. Under the state of alarm, individuals can leave their homes only:

  • to purchase essential items
  • to attend health centres
  • to go to work
  • to return to one's usual residence
  • for caring reasons
  • in cases of force majeure or of necessity
  • any other activity that is, by its nature, justified

All businesses which are deemed non-essential are also closed[133]

Policing the lockdown and human rights concerns

Individuals who are found by the police to be away from their homes without any of the reasons above can be fined 601 euros. If the officers believe that the offender has 'belittled' them, this can rise to 2,000 euros. In some cases, individuals can also be arrested. This is based on the Citizen Security Act, dubbed 'the gag law'. Since its introduction in 2015, the Act has generated criticism from lawyers, NGOs and political parties, especially concerning Article 36.6, which increases punishment in cases of serious lack of obedience to agents. Amnesty International has been denouncing the Act's 'arbitrary application' for years, arguing it has been used to sanction protest participants and journalists. Some argue that the law gives too much power to agents and that there is no mechanism for control and accountability. The Spanish Ombudsman has launched an investigation into whether fines are being issued correctly and proportionately. As of 25 April, more than 740,000 sanctions have been issued since the state of alarm was declared.[134]

Army involvement

The Army has been assisting with various tasks, including medical help from the Army's doctors and nurses, and setting up makeshift hospitals.[135]

Technology

The Spanish Police are also using drones to enforce movement restrictions, with police officers asking citizens to remain home through them via radio.[136]

Spain is also currently developing a geolocalisation app. It will start mass serological testing[137] on 36,000 households through a survey carried out by the Spanish Office for National Statistics.

Easing the lockdown

Spain has announced it will relax its confinement measures on 09 May, while children have been allowed to go outside from 27 April. A 'plan for the transition to a new normal' was presented on 28 April,[138] with the Interior Minister announcing that: "The de-escalation will require more discipline than confinement". [139]


Contact

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