Controlling without confronting
Studying behaviour at football matches has helped understand why some situations spark aggression and riots.
Dr Clifford Stott has shown that avoiding the use of heavy-handed tactics, such as automatically sending out a riot squad for crowd control, can help maintain control in potentially hostile situations.
A less confrontational atmosphere is created if the police are wearing normal uniforms, move in pairs and interact with the crowd. This approach makes people feel like the policing has been appropriate - even if arrests do need to be made.
Dr Stott's research has been included in a European Union handbook on controlling violence at international football matches, and he is now helping to set up a pan-European police training programme on match safety.