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

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

Areas for consideration based on international experience

  • Policing the lockdown presents multiple complex challenges for the police, including safety concerns
  • Most countries are now adopting a phased approach to easing the lockdown, ready to re-instate measures if necessary
  • There are concerns about the use of contact-tracing apps, seen as potentially infringing on individuals' privacy
  • The disproportionate effect of lockdown and emergency measures on marginalised communities should be carefully considered and factored into plans to ease restrictions
  • The approaches which seem to enjoy good support according to recent public opinion data are basic traditional policing[1]
  • It will be problematic for police to enforce the next stage of restrictions where there are separate rules for different sections of society[2]
  • There have been predictions in some academic circles of rising crime rates and possibly civil disorder/tensions as countries move into the next phase of the restrictions, which will place further strain on police forces[3]
  • Time must be built in when easing the lockdown to ensure that political messaging is consistent with the legislation, and that the police are adequately trained and briefed on their role
  • There may be issues with policing border areas if and when bordering countries ease restrictions at different times
  • Policing the coronavirus will continue to be controversial, with regards to police powers, police discretion and police coordination[4]



Back to top