Global progressive policing

“Policing and Covid-19” coverage: Where next for Policing Insight?…

Policing and the pandemic

Our Publisher, Bernard Rix, sets out how Policing Insight will continue to report on the national, regional and international policing responses to the pandemic, and renews his invitation to those others with policing insight on Coronavirus to get in touch, wherever they may be in the world.

Back in March, I wrote an article for Policing Insight entitled “Coronavirus: A statement from Policing Insight’s Publisher”. The first two paragraphs were:

We are entering – to say the least – challenging times.

Coronavirus, or COVID-19, is already bringing many, many, issues for policing, health and political leaders across the world to grapple with. For those in policing, business continuity in the workforce will be key, with support to other public services not far behind. The maintenance of public order may well become an issue, particularly if, as expected, disruption becomes protracted and people tire of the necessary restrictions placed on them by governments. Organised crime will inevitably be looking for the opportunities that the situation presents, then finding and exploiting them. And there are growing concerns that, behind closed doors, domestic violence will grow.

March now seems like a lifetime ago. I look back on those last ten weeks, and take great pride in the fantastic work I’ve seen delivered by so many across the global policing family. Some of that outstanding work Policing Insight has recently been able to share, whilst other successes currently remain unreported or – for good reason – embargoed.

We’d love to share those success stories across our global platform. Do get in touch if you know of stories we should be covering.

Also back in March, we took a decision as a publication that all Policing Insight’s “Policing and Covid-19” content would be free-to-access, and not placed behind our paywall. Here’s the statement we’ve from that day published alongside all our relevant content…

At this time of global crisis, all of Policing Insight’s Coronavirus (Covid-19) related content is now “free to access” – so no subscription needed. Policing Insight is uniquely positioned to share good policing practice and analysis on the international Coronavirus response. We’re determined to maximise those insights, whilst removing any possible burden on already stretched police officers, staff and volunteers, wherever they may be in the world.

However, quality journalism isn’t free. If you can, please do support our great journalists, analysts and back-room staff by buying a subscription (whether personal or for an organisation). You’ll be helping us provide the information needed worldwide by policing and criminal justice organisations, as they lead the fight against the virus.

Sixty four “Policing and Covid-19” articles later, I remain convinced that was the right decision.

As most countries are now beginning to emerge from full lockdown, though, the time has come for us to revisit that commitment.

Policing Insight’s valuable service takes considerable resources to deliver. Our funding relies almost entirely on our organisation wide subscription model, with police forces, government agencies, academic institutions, private sector suppliers and other police and criminal justice organisations taking out a subscription that ensures our content is free at point of use for all their officers and staff. Our funding model provides a sensible balance between our generating the income required for us to deliver valuable content, whilst making that content free to access for as many readers as possible. This facilitates the sharing of policing knowledge and expertise across our increasingly global audience.

However, our free-to-access “Policing and Covid-19” articles on the subject have recently (and quite rightly) dominated our output, and are undermining our subscription model and thus our income.

We are luckier than most businesses in that our team has been able to continue to operate, thanks to our already decentralised working practices. Like all businesses coming out of the crisis, we need to protect the future financial, job security, safety and well-being of our team.

For that reason, we are now beginning a phased return to our usual subscription gating policy, which means that there will be changes to the ‘gating’ of our “Policing and Covid19” content. We will of course keep this under regular review, as much will depend on how the pandemic continues to play out – and there’s nobody in the world who can provide certainty here.

We will shortly make all but the most recent of our Covid-19 content “Subscriber Only” where appropriate to our usual subscription gating policy. The first paragraph of our message is being revised to…

From March to May, Policing Insight made all Covid-19 related content free to access. As we come out of lockdown and the crisis eases, we have adjusted this policy to ‘all new Covid-19 content will be free to access for a 7 day period from date of publication’.

At some later point, we will revert to our normal editorial policy. We expect that our message will then be revised along these lines…

‘As we come out of the Covid-19 crisis into the new ‘normal’, our Covid-19 content will now be subject to our usual editorial policy in terms of reader access. We look forward to continuing to provide critical information support to our subscribers’

Do please get in touch if you know of stories we should be covering. We look forward to hearing from you.

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