The aim of this research is to describe trends and characteristics of breaches of COVID-19 public health orders detected by the NSW Police Force and compare this information with self-reported rates of non-compliance.
Researchers examined breaches recorded by the NSW Police Force against COVID-19 infections data reported by NSW Health. A small random sample of police narratives associated with breaches of COVID-19 public health orders were analysed to identify the specific nature of the incidents. Responses from a survey of 1,028 Greater Sydney residents regarding their behaviour while under restrictions are also presented.
A large number of breaches of COVID-19 public health orders have been detected between the re-introduction of restrictions to Greater Sydney on 26 June 2021 to 31 August 2021. There is no evidence that people in areas of concern or young people are engaging in more non-compliant activities. Overall, the results suggest that breaches are largely enforcement-driven rather than reflecting underlying patterns of non-compliance.