Presentation on theme: "B r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Policing in Context: Understanding Crowd Dynamics Reflections on crowd/police interactions and current."— Presentation transcript:
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Policing in Context: Understanding Crowd Dynamics Reflections on crowd/police interactions and current thinking on crowd dynamics
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Work on riots, political demonstrations, carnivals, football matches and ceremonial occasions. Supported by the ESRC, Home Office, Metropolitan Police, London, NPIA (National Police Improvement Agency formerly Centrex), University of Abertay and SIPR (Scottish Institute for Policing Research). UK Collaborators: Dundee, Liverpool and Sussex. International Collaborators: Dutch National Police Institute
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Public order and community policing The duty of the police service in Scotland is to prevent and detect crime – and to preserve public order 1
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Complexity of police decision making Strategic (Gold) Tactical(Silver) Operational(Bronze) Our work has shown that police decision making at these levels is informed by accountability concerns to internal and external audiences.
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Provoke/permit violence – a dilemma
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY What tactics should we use? Arrest To kit/not to kit officers Use of officers with protective equipment Use of dogs Use of horses Contain/Kettling Do nothing
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Police accountability Internal audiences (senior and junior officers) – senior officers suggest this is a bijou event, junior officers are calling for the horses to clear the streets. External audiences (politicians, political commentators, journalists, protest groups, lobbyists) Massive political pressure exerted on senior officers to avoid London coming to a standstill.
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Changing accountability Prior to any conflict, no tension between internal and external sources of accountability Incipient conflict (a few bricks and bottles) can be held to account for both provoking and permitting violence Full Monty – When London burns - can only be held to account both, internally and externally, for permitting violence to occur
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Practical advice Four principles: Intelligence Facilitation Communication Differentiation
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Intelligence Intelligence: Prior to any event, the police should identify all the groups that might be involved and their perspective on events: their intentions, their tactics, their notions of acceptable behaviour, their views of other groups and how they view their history with those groups including any grievances or points of sensitivity.
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Intelligence Intelligence may also indicate the proportion of different groups in the crowd, how homogenous the crowd might be in its intentions, whether any groups have intentions that the police cannot sanction, and how confrontational these groups will be when their intentions are frustrated.
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Facilitation Facilitation: The police should consider both in advance and during any event how to facilitate any lawful and legitimate aims of groups that are present. They should also consider whether there are legitimate alternatives through which crowd members can express themselves even when they propose illegitimate actions.
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Facilitation These considerations are particularly important when conflict begins to break out and may make the difference between escalation to full-blown riot and isolated acts of violence. The aim should be to permit the pursuit of lawful aims whilst impeding unlawful acts
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Communication Communication: It is important to devise in advance a communications strategy which considers what is communicated, who communicates and how communication occurs.
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Communication The police should communicate to crowds how they are seeking to facilitate the crowds legitimate aims and how the illegitimate actions of some in the crowd may serve to impede those aims.
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Communication Communication should be through figures respected by crowd members and liaison should be established at an early stage. Communication technologies may vary from leaflets handed out in advance to sound and display systems that will be noticed even under crowd conditions.
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Differentiation Differentiation: Under conditions where conflict is expected, and especially if conflict begins to break out, there is a tendency to treat all crowd members with hostility.
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Differentiation However especially in such situations, it is crucial to treat people with respect and win them to the police side, not the side of those initiating conflict. When formulating a response to potential or actual disorder, it is always critical to act in ways that distinguish between people promoting conflict and other crowd members.
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Differentiation This is important at all stages from designing tactics to planning events to implementing tactics. Even if only a few individuals are treated inappropriately (e.g. pregnant women caught up in an isolate and contain tactic) it can do considerable harm to an otherwise successful police operation.
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Differentiation Thus police commanders should ensure that officers distinguish clearly between crowd members at all times and that they place as much priority on helping the majority to act peacefully as on preventing a minority act violently.
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Conclusions The police need to utilise intelligence, communication, differentiation and facilitation strategies which avoid the situation of them treating a physical aggregate of people as a psychological crowd.
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Conclusions Police decision making in public order situations is complex and influenced by accountability concerns. Important to realise how intra group processes (relations within the police themselves) affect decisions.
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Conclusions Also, need to take account of how police decisions on strategy and tactics influences the crowd (intergroup relations). Questions?
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Thanks to co sponsors of the event: SIPR (Scottish Institute for Policing research) Public Policy forum (Scotland) University of Edinburgh
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Selected references Cronin, P. D. J. & Reicher, S.D. (2009). Accountability processes and group dynamics: a SIDE perspective on the policing of an anti-capitalist riot: European Journal of Social Psychology. Vol. 39, 237 - 254. Cronin, P.D.J., & Reicher, S. (2006). A study of the factors that influence how senior officers police crowd events: On SIDE outside the laboratory. British Journal of Social Psychology, 45, 175-196.
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Selected references Cronin, P.D.J. & Reicher, S.D.(2002). Report and recommendations into the policing of the May Day Protests (2001): London: Metropolitan Police. Reicher, S.D., Stott, C., Cronin, P. & Adang, O. (2003) Association of Chief Police Officers manual for keeping the peace. London: Home Office. Reicher, S.D., Stott, C., Cronin, P. & Adang, O. A new approach to crowd psychology and public order policing. (Policing 2004 - vol. 27. no.4).
b r e a k i n g b a r r i e r s UNIVERSITY OF ABERTAY Selected references Le Bon, G. (1895, trans. 1947). The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind. London: Ernest Benn. Reicher, S., Stott, C., Drury, J., Adang, O., Cronin, P., & Livingstone, A. (2008). Knowledge-based public order policing: Principles and practice. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, 1, 403-415.
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