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Vigilance or vigilantes? the lessons of the Paulsgrove riots for policing paedophiles in the community. Part 1, the long slow fuse

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This article utilises data collected from a three-year ethnographic study of the Paulsgrove demonstrations against a local child sex offender and the local authorities, which took place in August 2000. It reassesses Silke's (2001) examination of the demonstrations, which suggested several ‘policing strategies’ for dealing with vigilantism. In doing so we offer an alternative account of the demonstrations, outlining an 18-month aetiology which provides a wider understanding of the motivations of the protestors, as well as critically examining Silke's account of how the police deal with collective behaviour. We conclude that by examining the rationales for engaging in the protests one is able to gain a stronger understanding of the dynamics of crowd behaviour; which inevitably would be advantageous for future operational strategies for police officers charged with maintaining order on the streets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-119
JournalThe Police Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004

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