Criminal Justice

Collision of Crises: Racism, Policing, and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Written by:
Scarlet Harris, Remi Joseph-Salisbury, Patrick Williams and Lisa White
Read time:
10 minutes

Key points:

  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK government has introduced unprecedented police powers under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations and the Coronavirus Act.
  • At the same time, the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests ignited intense public debates around policing, which have continued into 2021 with the ‘Kill the Bill’ protests against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
  • Reflecting historical patterns, the policing of the pandemic has had the greatest impact on racially minoritised communities, with new police powers adding to and exacerbating pre-existing forms of racist policing.
  • Racial disparities are evident in official data on use of force, stop and search, Fixed Penalty Notices and use of Section 60, and apparent in widespread media reports of excessive policing across public settings.

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