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What have the Covid restrictions meant for human rights, democracy, trust and policing?

29 min listen

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Democracy and Policing Under Pressure

This episode of Life Solved from the University of Portsmouth explores what the Coronavirus pandemic restrictions have meant for human rights, democracy, trust and policing. We hear how narratives of control have played out in government policies and ask what this means for democracy here in the UK.

Professor Leila Choukroune and Dr Sarah Charman discuss the issues that have come with police enforcement of temporary legislation, and the confusion that can arise from rapidly introduced measures and guidelines. Sarah’s work looks at the impact of the pandemic upon both police and the public and she shares some of her latest research insights.

We also explore the worrying surge in hate crime reported throughout the pandemic.

Dr Lisa Sugiura and Dr Jemma Tyson have a conversation about the new legislation and regulation being debated to try and curb online and offline hate.

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Episode transcript:

John Worsey: You're listening to Life Solved from the University of Portsmouth. I'm John Worsey, and in this series, we're hearing from researchers about their thoughts and ideas on how life is changing long term as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This time, we're looking at how democracy has faced increasing pressure in the face of pandemic control measures introduced by governments around the world. We'll be finding out what sort of narratives and questions are being discussed in order to future proof human rights in the face of temporary legislation and rules. And here in the U.K., we'll be asking what the impact has been on the relationship between public and police as a result of enforcement. We'll also be looking at the rise in hate crime, both online and offline during the pandemic and how tackling it needs participation across all levels of society and governance. In 2020, across many parts of the world, governments introduced measures to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus, but this created tensions where prior personal freedoms became suddenly limited. Here in the U.K., police forces found themselves in a new role in enforcing emergency legislation. Dr Sarah Charman is a reader in criminology at the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice here at the University of Portsmouth. Sarah has been carrying out research into the impact of the pandemic upon police, and the public.

Sarah Charman: We've been looking at issues like organisational resilience, like police wellbeing. But we've also been looking at public levels of compliance and public attitudes towards the police as well. So we've been analysing body-worn video footage. We've conducted video diaries, surveys of police and public interviews with police and public and also focus groups with senior leaders. So we've amassed an enormous amount of data on what the changes within the pandemic have meant for the police and the public.

John Worsey: Around the world, the impacts of limited freedom o

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