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Crowd Psychology & Public Order Policing: An Overview of Scientific Theory and Evidence.


Submission to the HMIC Policing of Public Protest Review Team


Un i v e r s i t y o f L i v e r p o o l


Sc h o o l o f P s y c h o l o g y Be df o r d


S t r e e t S o ut h


Li v e r p o o l L69 7Z A


9/ 14/ 2009


Dr. Clifford Stott.


The scientific literature overwhelmingly supports the contention that collective conflict can emerge during crowd events as a consequence of the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of police force. This occurs because of the unanticipated impact that policing can have upon crowd psychology and dynamics. There is now compelling evidence that the most effective means for achieving proportionality in the policing crowds is through a strategic focus upon facilitation and a graded, differentiated and information led approach to the use of force. It is recommended that within the U.K police public order strategy and tactics are developed in ways that increase the links between tactical responses and        changes it is proposed that it will be necessary to a) undergo a thorough reform of public order training within the U.K. in order to develop greater conformity with scientific knowledge and evidence; b) increase police capability for  communication with crowds and formally recognise these as primary tactical options for public order policing.


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