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Crowd Situations and their Policing from the Perspective of Finnish Police Officers - a Case Study of Finnish Police Knowledge

NCJ Number
Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention Volume: 10 Issue: 2 Dated: 2009 Pages: 102-119
Kari Saari
Date Published
18 pages
This study examined the degree to which trends in public order policing have affected the reality of Finnish police officers.
This study explores crowd situations from the perspective of the Finnish police. The qualitative data consist of focused face-to-face interviews with police officers (n = 15). The results of these interviews indicate that special crowd control units have shifted from being an innovation to being an ordinary part of public order policing, despite the infrequent use of these units. Furthermore, police knowledge concurrently involved diversity and polarity. Crowd situations vary from political protests to sporting events and street festivals, and the police play multiple roles and apply diverse measures and tactics depending on the situation. Polarity is linked to the way the police perceive different crowds and crowd events as 'easy' and 'ordinary' or 'difficult' and 'deviant'. Finally, tension emerges between national and global aspects within police knowledge. This tension is linked to how police perceive crowd events and public order policing in terms of the past, the present, and the future. Figure and references (Published Abstract)