Have the British police abandoned their commitment to `policing by consent'? The sight of armed and riot police on the streets has led to this question being asked repeatedly over the past decade. However, the secrecy that has surrounded the policy governing armed and public order policing has previously made this a topic of arid speculation rather than informed debate. During his three years' extensive research into the Metropolitan Police,
P. A. J. Waddington was given unprecedented access to the hitherto secret world of armed and riot policing. Here he provides a detailed description of police policy, tactics, and weaponry, examining
such issues as the selection and training of armed officers, the lethality of police firearms tactics, the growth of paramilitarism, methods of dispersing rioting crowds, and the causes of riots. Dr Waddington's study of the difficulties and dilemmas that arise from the need to ensure effective public order policing while retaining public consent throws new light, from a uniquely informed perspective, on the issues that have aroused public anxiety.
`His book is a ruthlessly honest analysis of questions affecting the future of policing violent street disorder in this country It is not a comfortable book, but it would be a pity if it were confined to the shelves of police libraries and radical bookshops.'
John Stalker, Daily Telegraph
`powerfull ... It neither carps nor condemns; it explains. And its implications frighten me.'
John Stalker, The Sunday Times
`unromantic ... powerful ... a study of the inexorable para-militarism of Britain's police. It neither carps nor condemns; it explains.'
'The tone is matter of fact with a heavy accumulation of detail. The book tells many stories and is an interesting read. Maybe its main value is that it reminds us that violent disorders have often in the past been accompanied by muddle and confusion on the part of authorities seeking to restore good order.'
Donald Shell, Parliamentary Affairs, April '92
`he is ... able to relate the broad social, legal and political issues to the practical, scientific and indeed experimental problems faced by those in the front line ... This has enabled him clearly to identify, and to suggest ways of remedying, a central problem that has eluded other commentators'
Part I: Police Force: Introduction; The eclipse of 'Dixon of Dock Green'; Part II: 'Armed Police': The people for the job?; 'Deadly force'; Part III: Riot Police: Paramilitary policing; The use of force in public order policing; The politics of explanation and justification; Part IV: Conclusions: The politics of force; Appendix I: Police firearms - policy, training, and weaponry; Appendix II: Public order policing - equipment, tactics, and training