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Why tougher policing may not mean greater compliance with lockdown rules

As Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire return to Stage Three lockdown for the second time, enforcement is notably different from the last time around.

Police have set up roadblocks on the borders of the lockdown zone and the Australian Defence Force has been called in to assist.

Barrister and spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers Alliance, Greg Barns, says the state is heading into “murky waters” with coronavirus restriction enforcement.

“Whilst there is capacity for states to request that the Australian Defence Force get involved in the civil community, I think what we’re seeing here is problematic if, for example, it’s the case that defence forces are effectively acting as a supplement to a police force,” he told Neil Mitchell.

Mr Barns said Victorians largely complied with the last Stage Three lockdown, and he doesn’t think the more forceful approach to this lockdown will lead to greater compliance.

“Politicians have a propensity to resort, initially, to excessive use of force when they’re face with a crisis,” he said.

“That’s not always the way to get people to conduct themselves and in fact it can be counter-productive.

“Most lawyers would tell you that the most effective campaigns are those campaigns which encourage people to do the right thing.

“Changing people’s behaviour with positive reinforcement and encouraging them to get other do to the right thing … is often a much more effective way of getting law enforcement.”

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