1st Edition

Protest Policing and Human Rights A Dialogical Approach

By Michael Smith Copyright 2023
    274 Pages 21 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    274 Pages 21 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book examines protest policing and the toolbox of options available to police commanders in response. The right to peacefully protest is intrinsic to democracy and embedded in British history and tradition. The police are responsible for managing public order and facilitating peaceful protest and this has not been without criticism. On occasions, the police have found themselves in opposition to protest groups and there have been incidents of disorder as a result. In response, the development of Police Liaison Teams in the UK has presented the police with a gateway for dialogue between themselves and those involved in protest.

    Drawing on two contrasting case studies, the policing of the badger cull in South West England and an English Defence League (EDL) march in Liverpool, this book explores the experiences of police commanders, police liaison officers, protesters, counterdemonstrators, members of local businesses and other interested parties. It explores how a dialogical approach with all those engaged in or affected by a protest has assisted the police in balancing human rights and reducing conflict for all.

    An accessible and compelling read, this book will appeal to students, scholars and practitioners of policing, politics, criminology, sociology, human rights and all those interested in how protests are policed.

    1.Introduction to a dialogical approach  2.Policing, protest and balancing human rights  3.A theoretical framework for a dialogical approach  4.Conducting research: Insider or outsider?  5.Case study 1: The badger cull  6.Case study 2: The EDL march  7.The contribution and value of a dialogical approach  8.Conclusion and recommendations


    Michael Smith is a police officer in Merseyside Police, UK.

    In this highly accessible and most welcome addition to the literature on public order policing, Michael Smith employs tremendous academic rigour and dexterity in producing a work of undoubted theoretical and practical significance. His case study approach to explaining and ‘championing’ a fundamentally tolerant, inclusive and democratic ‘liaison’ approach to protest policing is infused with a surefootedness and credibility becoming of a serving officer. What emerges in these pages is a truly enlightened and compelling blueprint for police tactics and strategy.

    David Waddington, Emeritus Professor, Sheffield Hallam University

    Michael Smith has produced an invaluable text which shows how dialogical forms of policing can be effectively used in the management - and facilitation - of protests. This book, based upon extensive fieldwork and interview material, will enormously advance understandings of the role of police liaison officer and will be invaluable for researchers, students and practitioners alike.

    Peter Millward, Professor of Contemporary Sociology, Liverpool John Moores University

    Dialogue is one of the most crucial elements of a healthy and human rights-respecting democracy. And so is security of that democracy through policing. If one takes over the other, democracy fades away. In his book Michael Smith gives a critical justice theoretical appreciation of dialogical forms of policing and presents a well-balanced empirical study of protest policing and the premises and promises of ‘dialogical policing.’ Smith includes highly relevant practical recommendations to raise awareness by those involved in protesting and policing of one another, from which dialogue and policing both can benefit.

    Yarin Eski, Assistant Professor in Public Administration, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam