Policing

Riot policeIt is important that policing is as effective as possible in riots and situations of violent unrest.

Further research by Professor David Waddington has found that specific 'intensifiers', such as assault of a police officer, will raise the risk of mass violence and draw in those previously not involved. The situation may be salvaged by acts of reparation ('pacifiers') such as the immediate release of an arrested person or the intervention of a credible intermediary.

In the context of football disorder research, Dr Clifford Stott at the Liverpool University found that by keeping a low profile but intervening before disorder broke out, the police were able to encourage fans to deal with potential conflict themselves, marginalise troublemakers and prevent the social and psychological processes necessary for rioting to occur.

Research by Professor Helen Margetts at the Oxford Internet Institute is developing our understanding of how internet-related technologies are used in mobilisations, for example by facilitating co-ordination and increasing social influence to participate. In the riots, Blackberry's closed messaging systems seem to have been more important than social media such as Facebook and Twitter.