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Integrated Approach to Crowd Psychology and Public Order Policing

NCJ Number
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management Volume: 27 Issue: 4 Dated: 2004 Pages: 558-572
Stephen Reicher; Clifford Stott; Patrick Cronin; Otto Adang
Lawrence F. Travis III
Date Published
15 pages
This article provides suggestions on new ways in which to consider all aspects of crowd policing from training through tactics to technology.
Even though a riot can set back the relationship between the police and a community, effective public order strategies can transform relationships for the better. This paper discusses recent developments in crowd psychology and key psychological principles of crowd behavior. Interventions by police are then discussed along with how these interventions can affect crowd action either for the better or the worse. The paper concludes with guidelines for developing public order policing so as to minimize crowd conflict. Four specific principles of crowd policing are presented: education, facilitation, communication, and differentiation. In order to sustain a new approach in crowd policing, training needs must be determined, such as how to change the intelligence process, how to adapt the process of risk assessment, how to reshape old tactics and develop new ones, how to reorganize briefings and debriefings, and how to harness new technologies. It is suggested that police officers consider crowds as an opportunity to seek to enable them. Then, crowd members and the community at large may stop seeing the police as a problem and side with them in controlling those who cause disruptions. References