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Policing the pandemic 2020

We’re pleased to have been partners in #PolicingthePandemic, a youth-led study giving 3941 young people a say on policing during lockdown. We’ll be working hard to ensure their voices are heard.

Young people across England and Wales express views on policing during the pandemic

Concerns about racial disproportionality, the over-policing of poor communities, and the unfair criminalisation of young people are among the concerns raised by young people in the Policing the Pandemic report, launched by youth social enterprise Leaders Unlocked. 

A youth-led study conducted with 3,941 13-25 year olds across England and Wales between May and June 2020, Policing the Pandemic has been driven by young leaders who are dedicated to influencing positive change in the policing and justice systems. 

Launching on Wednesday 15th July, Policing the Pandemic features insights and direct quotations from young people about their experiences of policing and crime during lockdown. It also features 11 recommendations for change that have been devised by the young leaders involved in the study.

Some of the messages in the report are:

Lack of clear information and consistency: Young people feel there has been a failure by government to give clear information, which makes policing harder. There has been real inconsistency between police forces. Young people in many areas have noticed an increase in police patrols, but a lack of active engagement. Racial disproportionality is a key concern, as is age discrimination and the over policing of poor communities. 

Police engagement:

We found positive examples of community engagement in some areas. However, when being stopped or dispersed, many young people felt the rules were not made clear to them. Many said they experienced intimidation and aggression. Stop and search has been seen as opportunistic and ‘point scoring’.  There is a concern the police may be over-reaching their powers.

Less crime, but some felt less safe:

Young people feel that crime has decreased, but think this is a temporary trend. More than one in ten young people felt less safe due to lockdown. Many young people have not felt mentally well as this time, and some have been in unsafe homes. These factors may have caused young people to leave the house and break the lockdown rules.

Policing needs to be fairer:

The report’s 11 recommendations include calling for the police to take a clearer stance on Black Lives Matter and police brutality. Young people have recommended that there should be new police training on racial bias and vulnerability. They have also called for proper scrutiny of the arrests, fines and searches that have taken place over this period to address concerns about the potential for young people to be unnecessarily criminalised.

Rose Dowling of Leaders Unlocked said:

“This important piece of work has elevated the voices of nearly 4000 young people during lockdown. We are enormously grateful to all the young leaders and partner organisations who have helped us to reach young people in so many different communities of England and Wales. We also value the support of the National Police Chiefs Council, and we look forward to further collaboration to ensure that this research leads to real change.”

Rose Dowling of Leaders Unlocked