Public order policing in South Yorkshire, 1984-2011: the case for a permissive approach to crowd control

WADDINGTON, Dave (2011). Public order policing in South Yorkshire, 1984-2011: the case for a permissive approach to crowd control. Contemporary social science, 6 (3), 309-324.

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The Metropolitan Police Service's handling of the anti-G20 demonstration on 1 April 2009 attracted widespread public criticism and indignation. Mass media coverage of the event emphasised how police officers had reacted to protesters in a sometimes violent and allegedly indiscriminate manner, and had resorted to the now familiar and controversial tactic of ‘kettling’ demonstrators into a confined space before detaining them for several hours. Media reports initially echoed police briefings in disclosing that the death of a male passer-by, unintentionally caught up in the event, was due to natural causes. Video footage of the incident subsequently contradicted this account, suggesting that the fatality resulted from an unprovoked attack by a police officer. Reports prepared by Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary have since called on the police to adopt a more permissive approach to managing political protest, predicated on a commitment to facilitating the right to protest. This paper lends weight to arguments in favour of such an approach by highlighting the experience during the last 28 years of South Yorkshire Police, a force which has not only revised its practical and philosophical approach to handling public dissent, but also developed a more open attitude in its dealings with the media in a bid to restore public confidence and staff morale, following nationwide controversy around the Orgreave mass picket of 1984 and the Hillsborough stadium tragedy of 1989.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Fomr special issue: Crowds in the 21st Century
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Cultural Communication and Computing Research Institute > Communication and Computing Research Centre
Identification Number:
Page Range: 309-324
Depositing User: Users 56 not found.
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2012 08:49
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 20:01

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