Policing in pandemics: A systematic review and best practices for police response to COVID-19
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The COVID-19 pandemic has created a range of unforeseen and unprecedented challenges for police departments worldwide. In light of these challenges, the goal of this review is to understand the potential short- and long-term effects of disasters and public health emergencies on policing organisations and officers. A total of 72 studies were eligible for inclusion, based on their focus on policing and police work during and in the aftermath of natural disasters and public health emergencies. Through an extensive review, we compile and analyse the most common issues and best practices identified in the literature, and discuss ‘what works’ in the context of policing such emergencies. The literature reveals four categories of issues predominantly raised in this context, namely police-community relations, the mental health and wellbeing of officers, intra-organisational challenges, as well as inter-agency collaboration and cooperation. Based on our review and analysis, we offer a list of recommendations relevant for policing the current COVID-19 outbreak. The findings of this review have immediate implications for policing during COVID-19 but also cover long-term effects, providing valuable recommendations for after the crises has passed.