Hand sanitiser, PPE, flexible work arrangements and clear communication; key priorities for police on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Frontline workers in the public sector have borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic across all states and territories of Australia in 2020. Police, paramedics, nurses, health professionals and other public-facing staff have experienced significant changes in their work including increased demand, work intensification, and increasing task complexity. For those trained and employed in the health sector, their professional standing, foundational training and experience in public health and infection control have contributed to their wellbeing, resilience and capacity to cope.
For police professionals, there have been additional levels of complexity and a steep learning curve in adding principles of infection control, social distancing and health security to their public protection functions. Police have experienced the challenge of enforcing rapidly changing regulations around social distancing, isolation and public safety standards. Police have also been highly visible within the community during the shutdown and have frequently been a target for public anger and frustration.
Drawing on a survey of 665 police professionals from all states and territories in Australia, this paper explores the tensions experienced during the COVID-19 response, including personal and family health, mental and emotional wellbeing, workload pressures and organisational stressors. The survey asked police to identify the most and least helpful things that their employer did throughout the pandemic to support staff and to determine the key messages that they would like to communicate to management. This paper seeks to investigate the lessons that can be learnt, and establish the key priorities for future pandemic or similar event preparation.


ConferenceAssociation of Industrial Relations Academics in Australia and New Zealand (AIRAANZ) Conference 2021
OtherWhile the COVID-19 pandemic has generated a myriad of uncertainties, the AIRAANZ Conference remains a beacon of certainty, once again being run in early February. AIRAANZ 2021 will be an online event from Wednesday 3rd to Friday 5th February 2021. You can download the full program here.

We do hope you will register for and enjoy AIRAANZ 2021. Although the conference is FREE, pre-conference registration (before 5pm (AEDT) Tuesday 2nd February is essential to gain access to the sessions.

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