Covid-19 - Policing the Pandemic

This work involves working with the Independent Advisory Group on Police Use of Temporary Powers Related to the Coronavirus to scrutinise the policing of the pandemic in Scotland.

Research focus

Lead for our Safer Communities research programme, Professor Susan McVie from the University of Edinburgh, is a member of the Independent Advisory Group (IAG) on Police Use of the Temporary Powers related to the Coronavirus Crisis in Scotland. The IAG was set up to provide scrutiny around Police Scotland’s use of the police powers introduced to tackle COVID-19.

The focus of the research conducted by the SCADR team will primarily be on data about the impact of the pandemic on the exercise of the policing powers across different parts of Scotland and who is subject to enforcement under the new regulations.  Wider research will also examine changes in both crime and non-crime related incidents dealt with by the police, complaints against the police and the opinions of the public and police officers on the temporary powers during lockdown.

The project will initially involve linking information from different Police Scotland datasets, including ticketing information (on Fixed Penalty Notices issued for Covid-19 offences during lockdown) and the criminal history database; with a longer term aim of linking the ticketing information to the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Database.  A key aim would be to examine the background characteristics of those who were subject to enforcement during lockdown, especially those who received multiple FPNs, and determine how this might have impacted on compliance with the regulations.


Data this research aims to link and analyse

  • National Crime Agency
  • Criminal History Database data

Potential to link these datasets with the following for further work:

  • Police Scotland Fixed Penalty Notices data
  • Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Database


Research team

Dr Fernando Pantoja, Professor Susan McVie and Dr Ana Morales, University of Edinburgh, Scottish Centre for Administrative Data Research.


Publications and outputs

June 2020 - SPA interim report

August 2020 - Data report on Police Use of Fixed Penalty Notices under the Coronavirus Regulations in Scotland (FPN report)

February 2021 - Second data report on Police Use of Fixed Penalty Notices under the Coronavirus Regulations in Scotland (FPN 2nd report)