Policing During COVID-19 Pandemic Worldwide: Successful Practices and Lessons Learned

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Policing During COVID-19 Pandemic Worldwide: Successful Practices and Lessons Learned

Photograph: Kind Courtesy Sandip Gawai; Sourced from rediff.com



The Evidence-based Policing Network of the Center for Criminology & Public Policy, led by senior police practitioners and criminology researchers, has carried out an empirically-based, policy-focused research highlighting the innovative ways in which police departments across the six continents enforced lockdown regime, controlled the spread of corona virus disease and safeguarded citizens.

Motivation of the Study

This study endeavours to showcase and appreciate the extra-ordinary efforts of police officers (not to mention their courage, sacrifice and dedication) and also where they lacked in performance, to maintain law and order amid Covid-19 lockdown. The primary motivation behind this study was to review successful and unsuccessful police actions and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, so that the lessons learned during the current crisis – as to what worked well and what can be improved – can be used to inform innovative ways of responding to police operations in the future while making police departments more resilient and better prepared to tackle new outbreaks.

What makes this study unique?

This study is unique as it involved the combined efforts of police practitioners and criminology researchers from Asia, Africa, and South America, who compiled and analysed the most common issues and best practices in policing and police work during and in the aftermath of public health emergencies, and discussed ‘what works’ in the context of policing such emergencies. The study reveals five categories of issues predominantly raised in this context, namely police-community relations, the mental health and well being of officers, intra-organizational challenges, inter-agency collaboration and cooperation and investigating crimes. Based on our analysis, we offer a list of recommendations that have direct implications for policing the current COVID-19 outbreak as well as after the crisis have passed. Finally, contrary to other studies, our inspection took a snapshot of policing and assessed what happened from March 2020 to June 2021, thus allowing us to build on the results of policing in the first wave of Covid-19 and highlight the variety of new approaches taken by police in light of the challenges posed by second wave of coronavirus to serve their public safety functions.

Methodology of the Study

The following methods were used to conduct the study:

  • Just how Society of Evidence Based Policing produce horizon scans for London’s Mayor Office for Policing and Crime using published research, we took stock of the news reports related to police and Covid-19, and gathered the full-range of information on each objective.
  • DGPs/CPs of all the states were contacted by CCPP through a letter/e-mail asking them what they would like to highlight.
  • News reports were scanned by typing in key terms (that reflected priority areas of the project) in the Google Search. To ensure richness and reliability of information, English newspapers were preferred over Hindi.
  • We scanned at least five newspapers that are widely read across all regions of India. We began scanning the newspaper from 23rd March, 2020 and continued up until partial lifting of restrictions in all states and UT’s (i.e., upto June 2021).
  • Scanned journal articles, policy magazines, and twitter posts for capturing the promising trends in policing and included a gist of them.
  • The information collected was organized into key themes and topics that shed light according to the research questions asked.

Objects of the study

The study has six broad objects which are as follows:

  • To identify the ways in which police departments explained the gravity of coronavirus outbreak and spread the ‘wear mask and stay safe’ messages;
  • To highlight the strategies adopted by police agencies to ensure that people stay indoors and practice social distancing;
  • To describe the tactics used by police forces to respond to distress calls seeking help for food, shelter, transport, and security;
  • To look at the places where the police may learn from their mistakes;
  • To document the notable achievements of police officers and police stations including the special decisions made by police headquarters which made a difference in tackling the pandemic;
  • To assess the public opinion about police performance during Covid-19.


This study was carried out by Professor R Rochin Chandra and Dr. Hanif Qureshi, IPS, both from Evidence based Policing Network of the Center for Criminology & Public Policy.

Expected date of release

The report will be brought out in collaboration with the Bureau of Police Research & Development, Ministry of Home Affairs, in the month of January, 2022. 


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