One of the many issues raised by the measures introduced to address the pandemic is the operation of public health orders restricting presence in public places, including offences with heavy penalties. As with many long-standing ‘public order’ offences, police officers have significant discretion when it comes to the enforcement of public health order offences. The operation of Covid-19 laws has attracted considerable scrutiny by journalists, researchers and NGOs, including concern about the disproportionate impact of on-the-spot fines across Sydney and NSW. Covid-19 Policing in Australia is a national collaborative initiative that is monitoring the operation of coronavirus restrictions.
CCLJ researchers are addressing policing and criminal justice responses to COVID-19 in a variety of ways, including via contributions to local media, and information exchange and discussion with researchers from the Centre for Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Leeds in the UK.