Police and protester dialog: safeguarding the peace or ritualistic sham?

David Baker

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)


    This article compares and analyzes the functioning of dialog within police and protester interaction. The question is posed whether dialog is a stratagem for safeguarding the public peace or whether it is a form of symbolic theater. Liaison between police and protest organizers sometimes adopts a ritualistic format as both sides seek information about intentions, numbers, and tactics. Dialog initiatives create opportunities for negotiated arrangements that set parameters and expectations for crowd behavior, limit surprises, and establish some rapport. Swedish Dialog Police are arguably the exemplar of this approach. Although dialog is not a panacea for all police-protester encounters, as limitations are apparent and although some suspicion is inevitable, it is argued that it remains in the self-interest of both police and protesters to facilitate peaceful protest through meaningful dialog, whenever feasible.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83 - 104
    Number of pages22
    JournalInternational Journal of Comparative and Applied Criminal Justice
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Cite this