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Public Order Policing in its Contexts: From the 1980s to the Present Day David Waddington Sheffield Hallam University, UK.

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Presentation on theme: "Public Order Policing in its Contexts: From the 1980s to the Present Day David Waddington Sheffield Hallam University, UK."— Presentation transcript:

1 Public Order Policing in its Contexts: From the 1980s to the Present Day David Waddington Sheffield Hallam University, UK

2 Objectives The objectives of this presentation are to: 1.Trace the changing nature of public order policing since the 1980s 2.Explore parallel changes in the prevailing socio-political context 3.Emphasise the corresponding implications for police legitimacy & possible reform

3 A Preliminary Overview Academics reckon that, since the 1980s, there have been three major styles (or models) of public order policing. These are: The 1980s: Escalated Force The 1990s: Negotiated Management : Strategic Incapacitation : Strategic Facilitation?

4 Policing Context: 1980s The politics of recession (industrial decline, high unemployment, monetarism) Cultural, industrial and political dissent 'Strong government predicated on a potent 'Law and order' approach Ideological vilification of dissenters Allegations by some of police repression and partisanship ('Maggie Thatcher's Boot Boys')

5 1980s: Escalated Force Dominant Model: Protesters' 'rights' de-prioritised Lowered tolerance of community disruption Lack of communication and negotiation Strategic and uncompromising application of the law and use of arrests Readiness to apply force Loss of legitimacy in some quarters - then Poll Tax

6 Policing Context: 1990s From 'class'/'ethnic' to 'issue' politics (e.g. ecology/environment, Third World poverty, animal welfare, sexuality) Middle-class protesters; absence of clear political consensus (threat to police legitimacy) police public order tactics and legislation seen as increasingly anachronistic

7 1990s: Negotiated Management Dominant Model: Greater respect for 'right to protest' Increased tolerance of disruptive protest Accent on negotiation and compromise Greater reluctance to use the law and resort to arrests Reluctance to apply force But 'Iron fist in velvet glove' 

8 Policing Context: 2000s Transnational movement(s) for global justice 'Transgressive' versus 'contained' protesters Non-hierarchical, leaderless, unwilling to liaise Differing protest repertoires Summit meetings: Internationally Protected Persons

9 2000s: Strategic Incapacitation Dominant Model: use of no-protest zones (e.g. concrete or metal barriers and curfews) Interception and obstruction of protesters disruption of assembly or convergence centres use of 'less lethal' weapons (pepper spray, tear gas, concussion grenades) to retake spaces of contention use of intelligence and surveillance to predict or monitor demonstrators' behaviour and assign perceived levels of risk or danger pre-emptive arrests (e.g. to take out ringleaders)

10 From 2010: Strategic Facilitation? Prevailing Context: Controversy and litigation around 'kettling' Media outcry and opprobrium re policing of the G20 The 'Adapting to Protest' reports Implications Re Legitimacy & Reform: ACPO response: commitment to facilitating 'the right to protest' ACPO Code of Practice (incorporating O'Connor recommendations)


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