Crowd psychology, public order police training and the policing of football crowds
Hoggett, J. and Stott, C. (2010) Crowd psychology, public order police training and the policing of football crowds. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 33 (2). pp. 218-235. ISSN 1363-951X
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13639511011044858
Purpose - This study seeks to examine what theory of crowd psychology is being applied within public order police training in England and Wales and what accounts of crowds, police strategies and tactics subsequently emerge among officers who undertake this training. Design/methodology/approach - The study uses a multi-method approach including observations of public order training courses, interviews with students and instructors, and the dissemination of questionnaires. Findings - The analysis suggests that a form of crowd theory associated with the work of Gustave Le Bon has become institutionalised within police training. This in turn is leading to a potentially counter-productive reliance on the undifferentiated use of force when policing crowds. Practical implications - The study illustrates that such training outcomes not only are counter to the recent developments in evidence, theory and policy but also undermine the police's ability to develop more efficient and effective approaches to policing crowds. Originality/value - The study provides a systematic review of public order training which demonstrates how crowd theory is used as a rationale and justification for the use of tactics based on undifferentiated force. It makes suggestions for improving police training so that updates in policy and theory can be translated into operational practice.