A Comparative Study of Police Organizational Changes in Europe during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Police organizations—like many other social institutions—were forced to make changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This exploratory study uses data from 15 European countries to examine how the police organizations have adjusted their operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results suggest the way in which police organizations responded to the pandemic was complicated. Some police functions, such as handling of complaints and internal investigations, did not change substantially during the pandemic. On the other hand, functions which normally involved significant face-to-face contact within organizations, such as in-person rollcalls and police training, were substantially affected. Police organizations also changed their reactive policing activities, such as handling of calls for service, traffic stops, and taking people into custody, as well as proactive policing activities, such as community policing and directed patrols. The results further indicate that police administrators did not perceive that these changes would negatively affect either their relationship with the community nor morale within police organizations.
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