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'Beyond the Riots' – Policing in Partnership to Prevent and Contain Urban Unrest

Platts-Fowler, Deborah (2016) 'Beyond the Riots' – Policing in Partnership to Prevent and Contain Urban Unrest. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

For four days in August 2011 there were widespread public disturbances in 66 locations across the country. Known as the ‘2011 English Riots’, they were estimated to have involved 15,000 participants, cost half a billion pounds and were associated with five deaths (Bridges 2012). The Prime Minister described them as ‘criminality, pure and simple’ (Cameron 2011). Consequently, there was no major official inquiry. An academic literature emerged, but this was theoretically driven and London-centric. The lack of an empirical evidence-base provided the rationale for this study. The aims were to understand why the riots occurred in some places outside London, but not others; to explore the role of police and partners in preventing and containing unrest; and, recognising that policing rarely takes place in a vacuum, to identify other contextual factors undermining and promoting social order at local levels. The case study method was selected for its ability to capture context. Cases included a riot affected city and an ‘at risk’ city, which were characteristically similar, to support a compare and contrast approach. Neighbourhood 'sub-cases' were used as a methodological tool to access community-level variables. The study drew on quantitative and qualitative data, but was primarily based on 45 interviews with police and partners involved in the public order response or working with affected communities. The study found that inequality, exclusion and poor treatment of communities provided motivation for rioting. However, the activities of police and partners were able to prevent and contain unrest. The involvement of neighbourhood police officers and practitioners in the main public order response offered greater chance of success, due to their local knowledge and rapport, but was dependent on pre-existing partnerships and the mind-set of police commanders. Informal social controls, underpinned by community attachment, played an important role in inhibiting violence, especially where supported by formal controls.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: 2011 Riots; Policing; Policing Partnerships; Urban Unrest; Public Order; Informal Social Control
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Law (Leeds) > Centre for Criminal Justice Studies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.702611
Depositing User: Dr Deborah Platts-Fowler
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2017 09:52
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:54
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/16063

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