28 Apr Policing by consent is crucial during lockdown
Along with the overwhelming majority, I support the extended lockdown. Like many, though, I miss the freedoms I had just a few weeks ago and look forward to popping-out for no particular purpose or sharing a meal or pint or two with friends.
‘Big Brother’ seems to be the most reliable source of information to show compliance with the lockdown as it can track our every move and more. I’m not sure I like that as a general rule, but I can live with it provided there’s very strong independent oversight and regulation that reassures me it’s a force for good.
It is often said we police by consent, a phrase that is commonly used, but not always understood. In the context of the lockdown, it simply means that the vast majority of the public support the measures with little need for any enforcement by the police.
“Anyone who engages in social media will know the vast range
of views on how we should behave during the lock down”
Equally, it means the vast majority are supportive of the way the police conduct themselves; how they apply the law and exercise discretion – and that remains a cornerstone of policing in Gloucestershire.
Overall, I think the Chief Constable has got it about right. His officers not only had to apply the law, but also interpret government instructions and guidance that are somewhat ambiguous. Friendly advice has been given along with stern warnings and penalty tickets and hopefully public support has been maintained. However, anyone who engages in social media will know the vast range of views on how we should behave during the lock down.
As we move into week four of at least six weeks of lockdown I welcome the Government’s affirmation that our beautiful parks and open spaces should remain open as they are an asset to minimise the strain on those who don’t have gardens or live in flats or basements, especially those who have children or other specific needs.
Hopefully it doesn’t lead to a stampede and that those of us for which the lockdown is less of a burden give way to others less fortunate so that social distancing can be maintained.