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Safer communities… together? Plural policing and COVID-19 public health interventions in Aotearoa New Zealand

Deckert, Antje, Long, Nicholas J. ORCID: 0000-0002-4088-1661, Aikman, Pounamu Jade, Appleton, Nayantara Sheoran, Graham Davies, Sharyn, Trnka, Susanna, Fehoko, Edmond, Holroyd, Eleanor, Naushad Jivraj, Naseem, Laws, Megan ORCID: 0000-0002-7652-4279, Martin-Anatias, Nelly, Pukepuke, Reegan, Roguski, Michael, Simpson, Nikita ORCID: 0000-0001-5260-3266, Sterling, Rogena and Tunufa’i, Laumua (2021) Safer communities… together? Plural policing and COVID-19 public health interventions in Aotearoa New Zealand. Policing and Society, 31 (5). 621 - 637. ISSN 1043-9463

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Identification Number: 10.1080/10439463.2021.1924169


International media have praised Aotearoa New Zealand for its response to the coronavirus pandemic. While New Zealand Police played a fundamental role in enforcing pandemic control measures, the policing landscape remained plural. This article employs Loader [2000. Plural policing and democratic governance. Social and legal studies, 9 (3), 323–345] model of plural policing to understand responses to public health emergencies. It identifies two forms of policing which were evident in Aotearoa during the COVID-19 lockdown that should be added to Loader's model. First, we argue that contexts with colonial history require that the model not only includes by-government and below-government policing but also next-to-government policing by Indigenous peoples – such as the 'community checkpoints' run by Māori. Second, and further developing Loader's model, we argue that the category of below-government policing be expanded to include 'peer-to-peer policing' in which government responsibilizes members of the public to subject each other to large-scale surveillance and social control. Since plural forms of policing affect each other's functionality and legitimacy, we argue that what happens at the synapses between policing nodes has profound implications for the process of community building. Because community building is essential to fighting pandemics, we conclude that the policing of pandemic intervention measures may require an expanded understanding and practice of plural policing to support an optimal public health strategy.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2021 10:57
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2024 05:39

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