The long-term effects of policing the COVID-19 pandemic: Public attitudes toward the police in the ‘new normal’

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Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the reality of police agencies worldwide. Since January 2020, police were required to enforce a long, constantly changing, often controversial list of emergency regulations, while striving to keep themselves and the citizens they interact with safe. Following an early examination of the short-term effects of the pandemic on the attitudes of majority communities in Israel toward the police (Perry and Jonathan-Zamir, 2020), in this study, we examine if and how attitudes changed as the pandemic progressed. We returned to the same sample, and supplemented the initial survey carried out during the first peak of the pandemic in Israel (April 2020) with an additional wave during the third peak (December 2020). Our two-wave panel study reveals that following initial strong support for the police, public sentiments dropped. This trend was evidenced both in evaluations of pandemic-policing and in more general views of the police. Based on these findings, we conclude that in contrast to the short-term, a long-term transition into crisis-policing may bear significant costs in terms of citizens’ support and willingness to comply with the police and the law, precisely at a time when voluntary compliance is most needed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)167-187
Number of pages21
JournalPolicing (Oxford)
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022

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© The Author(s) 2021.

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