Policing During the Pandemic… Right or Left Realist?

The UK Police Force have played a front-line role in enforcing government lockdown rules during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Newspapers have tended to focus on the more dramatic incidents of police handing out strict penalty notices to those breaching lockdown rules.

For example, this news item in the Sun from January 2021.

However, sociology students need to ask themselves how representative such cases are of the way the police more generally have conducted themselves during lockdown.

Recent research by HMICFRS on ‘policing the pandemic’ in the UK suggests that policing more generally has been more line with a community-engagement Left Realist approach to policing.

Based on a review of police interactions with the public during the Pandemic, the research found that most police forces in the UK successfully adopted government guidelines and spent most of their time engaging, explaining and encouraging people to obey lockdown rules rather than bluntly enforcing them with fixed penalty notices for people not wearing masks for example.

The ratio of ‘engage/ explain/ encourage’ to ‘enforce’ has been more than 10-1.

So while the police HAVE been enforcing lockdown rules with strict penalties in some cases, in more than 90% of interactions they have taken a much gentler approach, suggesting policing during the pandemic has been closer to a left-realist type of control rather than a right realist type of control.

One thought on “Policing During the Pandemic… Right or Left Realist?”

  1. Ah! please come to Australia and see how the POLICE act (I use the term act lightly) in the lockdowns of late.

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