Outstanding impact of Leeds research celebrated by the ESRC

Research by the School of Law’s Dr Clifford Stott has been recognised for its fundamental influence on police policy and practice in the UK and further afield.

Dr Stott receiving his award from Aileen Murphie of the National Audit Office


The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has awarded Dr Stott its 2014 Celebrating Impact Award for Outstanding Impact in Public Policy.

The Award reflects Dr Stott’s work with policy makers and police forces, changing the way crowd events and protests are policed.

There was considerable resistance in policy circles to the idea that police were in some way responsible for the production of 'disorder'.  Many believe that forceful policing is essential in order to control crowds and act as deterrence.  The new approach to crowd psychology developed by Dr Stott and colleagues provided powerful evidence that crowds can be managed more effectively when the police concentrate on enabling lawful behaviour - such as protests - rather than merely trying to control criminal behaviour through fear and force.  In other words, if police interact with people in a friendly and proportionate manner, then they can prevent conflict.

"Our research shows that heavy-handed policing can actually provoke crowd conflict," Dr Stott explains.

Today, Dr Stott's ideas permeate police training and policy as well as the recent introduction of new police 'liaison units' designed to avoid conflict through dialogue.

Read more about the impact of Dr Stott’s research.
Read more about the ESRC Celebrating Impact Awards.

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