Policing is a threat to public health and human rights

Deivanayagam, Abi and Lasoye, Sarah and Smith, James and Selvarajah, Sujitha (2021) Policing is a threat to public health and human rights. BMJ Global Health, 6 (2). ISSN 2059-7908

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Policing is a public health concern because it is a tool of racist and discriminatory power structures, actively harming the physical, mental, social and emotional health and well-being of populations, particularly Black and people of colour, and other minoritised populations. Policing is a matter of public health because criminalisation and punitive responses to social problems reproduce the social and economic conditions that result in criminalised behaviours, undermining healthy communities. A fundamental tenet of abolitionist public health is developing and implementing interventions that tackle the interpersonal, social, economic and political determinants of health at the root of societal problems, thus making policing obsolete. Defunding the police and reallocating public funds to primary and secondary preventative policies aligned with the social determination of health are essential steps towards abolition. We call for the support and creation of alternative systems that centre collective care and well-being, and a non-violent public health rooted in transformative justice.

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Journal Article
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BMJ Global Health
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02 Feb 2023 13:50
Last Modified:
17 Sep 2023 03:23