According to a new briefing paper from the Center for Ethnicity Dynamics (CoDE) at the University of Manchester, the nationwide coronavirus lockdowns and strengthening of police powers have disproportionately damaged color communities.
A collision of crises: racism, policing and the COVID-19 pandemic show that in response to the pandemic, the UK government has put in place unprecedented police powers under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) and Coronavirus Act (2020) regulations. However, according to CoDE, the monitoring of the pandemic reflects historical patterns that are having the greatest impact on racial minor communities. New police powers complement and tighten existing forms of racist policing.
“Last year the crisis met in the police and interacted with the crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said lead author Dr. Scarlet Harris, research fellow at CoDE. “New research points to the dangers of further strengthening the police force in this context, and in particular to the effects on racially underage communities. This briefing paper forms the framework for our full report, which will be published in July. “
A collision of crises is part of CoDE’s ongoing study from the perspective of people “monitored” during the Covid-19 pandemic. The study draws on in-depth online research with racially minors and asks what the current context means for those who are at the end of policing in England and Wales.
Racial differences are evident in official data on the use of force, stop and search, fixed criminal charges, and Section 60 enforcement, as highlighted in widespread media coverage of excessive policing in public institutions. Activists have raised concerns that the widespread misinterpretation and abuse of Schedule 21 has so far had a disproportionate impact on blacks and minors.
Despite a drop in crime rates at the time the first lockdown went into effect, stopping and search practices more than increased year-over-year in May 2021, while an astonishing 21,950 searches of young black men in London took place in the first year of lockdown. Black people in London were up to 11 times more likely to be stopped than whites.