'Strangers' seen as less likely to comply with lockdown rules

Most people believe they adhere to blocking rules, while others, especially strangers, are more likely to break them, according to a study.

Researchers at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Portsmouth showed the gap in perceptions of how Covid-19 restrictions are being adhered to.

When asked how well they met the initial ban on a five-point scale, the average was 4.49. This compared to just 2.40 when asked how well they think the general population has adhered to lockdown regulations.

Dr. Rob Inkpen, reader for geography, said: “Participants believe they were significantly more compliant than others in the UK general population.

“Those who are furthest from the respondents’ own social circle were seen as the least compliant.

“The family was seen as the most compliant, followed by friends, people in their neighborhood, and finally people in the UK general population.

“This latter group was considered non-compliant with the lockdown rules.”

The study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, found that the main limitation was not attending social gatherings.

Social distancing was the restriction that researchers were least likely to adhere to because it was difficult to practice social distancing in certain circumstances.

Researcher Camille Ilett said, “People with high compliance scores were more likely to report problems complying with the rules, while those with lower scores were less likely to believe there were problems.”

The study also suggested that women reported higher levels of compliance and willingness to follow the rules on future bans.

Older age groups tended to consider the general UK population to be more compliant compared to younger age groups who considered the general UK population to be less compliant. Participants between the ages of 25 and 45 and those between the ages of 55 and 64 were most likely to report low compliance scores.

People who said they felt concerned about the virus were more likely to also report under lockdown rules and perceive the UK population as not following the same standards.

Key public figures also found the people of the UK and their region to be less compliant and less likely to predict that people would be good at complying with a further lockdown.

Those who said they had fully complied with the lockdown restrictions were more likely to find the police “fair and transparent” in enforcing the Covid-19 restrictions.

Dr. Sarah Charman, criminology reader, said, “Those who respond with low compliance scores may feel a disregard for authority or the belief that the restrictions are unnecessary.”

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