Posted on 5 May 2020
The research - from the University of York’s Law School - also found that a factor driving people to comply with the lockdown was a strong sense of owing an obligation to NHS workers (78 per cent) - which rated above the obligation to their families at 76 per cent.
The pandemic and ensuing lockdown has left around 21 per cent of people experiencing a significant problem around mental health; 17 per cent around loneliness and 17 per cent about money.
The study – funded by the Nuffield Foundation - was compiled from a representative national survey of 1,700 people to better understand public attitudes to the lockdown. The report is the preliminary findings of an 18-month research project to understand more about how people understand the rules, if they see themselves as compliant, what drives compliance, and how the rules relate to ordinary perceptions of rights.
Other key findings include:
Report author, Dr Joe Tomlinson from York Law School said: “An examination of how the public understand and experience the lockdown, and the significance of these perceptions for compliance, is essential to developing a clear picture of how the lockdown restrictions are working. Understanding the role of law in society, and not only in strict ‘legal’ terms, has rarely been so important.
“Our initial findings suggest that people think they know the rules and are generally willing to comply. They view the interference with their sense of ‘rights’ as broadly justified and, though it might prove difficult, would try to continue to comply with future restrictions, should they be extended or tightened further. However, there is a striking lack of agreement on what is understood as permitted in relation to particular activities. Many also report breaking or bending the rules.”
The report authors are Professor Simon Halliday, Dr Jed Meers, and Dr Joe Tomlinson from York Law School.
The full report, Law and Compliance during COVID-19: Interim Report 1 Public Attitudes on Compliance with COVID- 19 Lockdown Restrictions can be read here
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