Managing public order at large demonstrations, protests, and assemblies is a demanding and necessary task. A new book provides an international review of public order management experiences and effective practices. Through practical examples grounded in multidisciplinary theory and science, the book offers a roadmap to improve police response and increase safety at large gatherings in democratic countries.
The book, Public Order Policing: A Professional’s Guide to International Theories, Case Studies, and Best Practices, was edited by researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV); the Institute for Further Education of the Bavarian Police; and the Portland Police Bureau. It published by Springer Cham in December 2023.
“Successful public order management is critical to upholding democracy and maintaining the rule of law,” according to Tamara D. Herold, associate professor of criminal justice at UNLV and a senior advisor at the National Institute of Justice, one of the book’s editors. “Negative police-public interactions can harm the safety and well-being of citizens and officers, as well as local and international perceptions of police legitimacy.”
Herold is an expert whose work is promoted by the NCJA Crime and Justice Research Alliance, which is funded by the National Criminal Justice Association.
In 21 chapters by researchers and police officials in the United States, Europe, and Canada, the book presents cutting-edge, evidence-based, and successful strategies to plan, conduct, and analyze crowd events. The chapters are grounded in research from the fields of sociology, criminology, psychology, and ethics, as well as in practical police work.
The chapters address a wide range of topics, including the emergence and escalation of collective violence; de-escalation; preventing crime at large gatherings; intelligence in public order policing; the use of force in public order policing; and the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as a challenge for public order policing and democracy.
“As we have seen worldwide, including assemblies in the United States, Myanmar, Belarus, Russia, and elsewhere, police mismanagement of mass demonstrations often instigates crowd violence and other harmful behaviors,” says Herold. “The causes of violence at assemblies are complex and multifaceted, and failure to understand crowd dynamics that lead to violence limits police effectiveness and contributes to poor decision-making by officers.”
The content, perspectives, and lessons presented in this book are intended to guide people working in public order management, including police officials, policymakers, and researchers.