Protest Policing

Policing Crowds

The Center has also recently started to focus on crowd management issues, with a particular emphasis on violence prevention. Drawing primarily on criminology and social psychology, Center staff have been working to develop new methodolo

gies for policing crowd events in a manner that preserves public safety and reduces conflict. These methods derive from a number of sources, including scholars and innovative police leaders from Europe and the United States who are working together in an effort to devise fairer and more effective strategies and tactics for managing crowds.

The Center’s work in this area has taken place on a number of fronts, including direct observation of crowds and police at protest events, surveys of protesters, and site visits to police agencies experimenting with innovative approaches. Publications emerging from this research will include a guidebook for police on how to handle protests, as well as a series of academic journal articles that contribute to the growing scientific literature on crowds. In addition, an academic book on the policing of protests in eight U.S. cities is currently in progress.

ASU is looking to become a world leader in the science and safety of crowds, with a particular focus on the role of the police. Within the United States, the police have a Constitutional responsibility to protect and preserve the freedom of assembly and the freedom of speech. ASU seeks to promote these democratic ideals in its work on this issue, working closely with police and governments to provide training, technical assistance, research, evaluation, and consultation. 

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