Project Background and Aims

Wellcome, this blog is run by Professor Marty Chamberlain and academic colleagues affiliated with the Centre for Social Innovation at Teesside University.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the implementation of new legislation, the Coronavirus Act 2020, which gives police officers the powers to enforce social distancing guidelines imposed by the government.

These are unprecedented times and have called for unprecedented action to keep everyone safe, however during this period it is important that the Police continue to undertake their duties by consent, and deal with local communities sensitively at a period when many will be feeling particularly isolated and vulnerable.

As a result, we have agreed to undertake independent research with the support of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland.

The research has two key goals:

To understand community perceptions regarding Cleveland Police implementation of the Coronavirus Act powers.

The University will be an independent player acting to advise the PPC on public perceptions regarding Cleveland Police use of covid powers to ascertain whether the community, and in particular ‘at risk’ groups, feel that the new powers are being used appropriately with the desired focus on engagement, education and encouragement before resorting to enforcement. This will include engagement to understand how communities would like the Police and PCC to educate them regarding the new powers.

To understand how the community would like Cleveland Police and the PCC to engage with them during the period of social distancing when traditional face to face engagement mechanisms are not appropriate.

This will potentially include recommendations regarding future engagement mechanisms to better reflect the diverse range of platforms available for engagement, and will potentially have longer term implications for the format of community engagement, going beyond the timescales of the pandemic. Research will be undertaken to look at best practice regarding community engagement in other Force areas, including a review of the benefits of a range of social media platforms.

Author: Marty Chamberlain

Professor of Criminology School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Law Teesside University

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