COVID Policing

This monitoring and reporting project has now closed. A detailed report, COVID-19 Policing in the Pandemic’, analysing the interactions between police and people during the pandemic’s first year in 2020 is now available at the link below. Thank you to everyone who submitted accounts of police interactions and to all the organisational and academic supporters around Australia.


Latest Commentary

Beware what’s happening under the cover of COVID-19


Elizabeth Farrelly OPINION The Age, 5 April 2020. Across the world, there’s growing concern that COVID-19 is enabling authoritarian governments to amass unprecedented powers that will outlast the crisis itself. In Turkey, Hungary, Egypt, Uganda and Serbia this might sound unsurprising. But, reports The Times, even the German government is seeking to access phone-logging data to track its...

Oversight is essential in the fast moving crisis that is COVID-19


Ebony Bennett The Canberra Times, 4 April, 2020 Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures. State and federal governments are exercising broad new powers and deploying eye-popping public spending to manage the COVID-19 health and economic crises. But government transparency and parliamentary accountability will be crucial to preserving one all-important commodity: trust. There can be no...

Putting human rights at the heart of Australia’s response to COVID-19


Human Rights Law Centre, 3 April, 2020 There is no doubt that this is a time for drastic action. In this moment of crisis, from our desks at home, the Human Rights Law Centre is working across the country to make sure our governments are responding appropriately, fairly and in a way that does not undermine our human rights and democracy for years to come. We’re also working hard to make sure...

Man eating kebab on bench among 50 people fined in NSW and Victoria for violating coronavirus laws


Michael McGowan and Ben Smee, The Guardian Australia, 3 April, 2020. Concern that police crackdown to tackle public health emergency will disproportionately affect vulnerable people Eating a kebab on a bench, washing car windscreens at an intersection or sitting in a stationary car – these are just some of the reasons more than 50 people have been fined by police in New South Wales and...

Civil liberties concerns over Australian police powers to issue fines for coronavirus rule breaches


Matilda Boseley, Paul Karp and Ben Smee, The Guardian Australia, 31 March 2020 Police patrol Bondi beach in Sydney, Australia, after it was closed amid new social distancing rules brought in to combat the spread of Covid-19. Photograph: Mark Evans/Getty Images Most states say police will use discretion over potential social distancing violations, but rights advocates argue public messaging on new...

Coronavirus rules: How different states in Australia are implementing new restrictions and what the penalties are


ABC News, 31 March 2020 The Federal Government’s announcement that gatherings had been limited to two people sounded straightforward enough, but it has caused some confusion. With debates over what is essential vs non-essential, and what constitutes family, the actions you have to take may vary depending on where you live. What did the Federal Government say? On Sunday, Scott Morrison...

Policing The Pandemic


Police Accountability Project, 30 March, 2020. As Victoria escalates its crisis response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Victoria Police must ensure its responses are aligned to the current circumstances and do not infringe upon the health, human rights and dignity of Victorian residents and visitors. There is urgent need to reduce the number of people coming into contact with the criminal legal system...

I thought I was safe to walk the beach with my daughter, then the police came


Kasey Edwards The Age, 30 March 2020 The two police officers striding towards me were the first sign that I’d done the wrong thing. It was a sunny Saturday morning and I’d taken my 10-year-old daughter, who had a severe case of cabin fever from being cooped up most of the week, to the beach for a walk along the water’s edge. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave the beach; the beaches are...

This collaborative project aims to document incidents, reports, and examples from members of the public concerning COVID-19 policing, for use in monitoring and reporting, as well as legal advocacy and accountability. It is run by a group of legal and human rights advocacy organisations, backed up by a network of policing academics with a coordinator in each state.
Learn More »