Advances in liaison based public order policing in England: Human rights and negotiating the management of protest?

Clifford Stott, Martin Scothern, Hugo Gorringe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article provides further analysis of an emerging ‘liaison’ based approach to the policing of public order in England and Wales (Gorringe, H., Stott, C. and Rosie, M. (2012). ‘Dialogue Police, Decision Making, and the Management of Public Order During Protest Crowd Events.’ Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling 9(2): 111–125.). Data is gathered from a range of sources including direct observation of a series of six protest events across two cities in England between May and November 2012. The research was conducted using principles of ‘participant observation’ within an ‘action research’ framework (Lewin, K. (1958). Group Decision and Social Change. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.). The qualitative analysis suggests that liaison based approaches are effective where they enhance police capacity for problem solving, conflict reduction, limit setting, and mediating during protest events. It is asserted that liaison based tactics can be undermined, however, through poor understanding of the approach among police commanders and inadequate sensitivity to interactions between police tactics, protest identities, ideology, and history. The implications of the data for understanding wider debates concerning iterative processes between ‘transgressive’ protest and shifts toward strategic incapacitation are discussed (Gillham, P. F. (2011). ‘Securitizing America: strategic incapacitation and the policing of protest since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.’ Sociology Compass 5(7): 636–652.).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-226
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2013


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