Police and Covid

Police and Covid

A Refection

Police and Covid: A Reflection

Gary Cordner, Baltimore Police Department;

Auke van Dijk, Dutch Police Service;

Clifford Shearing, Universities of Cape Town, Griffith, Montreal, and New South Wales

What should we make of the Covid experience so far, for society and for the police? Are we in one of those moments after which “nothing will ever be the same”? Or, instead, are we living through an example of “the more things change, the more they stay the same”? Is Covid the leading edge of what has been termed our emerging ‘age of catastrophe’? Or is it more accurate that ‘This pandemic will be managed in the same way as pandemics are always managed’, as predicted early on by Scott Burris, a public health lawyer?

The answers to these kinds of questions are not as obvious as one might think. Certainly, in many countries police have been called upon to participate in the implementation of actions intended to limit the ability of the virus to spread from person-to-person. At the core of these responses has been social distancing, mask wearing, quarantine requirements, and vaccine mandates – not the kinds of individual and social behaviour most of us would expect to attract the attention of traditional police work.

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