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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98441 Find in a Library
Title: Return to Battle - Contemporary Industrial Confrontation
Journal: Police Journal  Volume:58  Issue:2  Dated:(April-June 1985)  Pages:100-110
Author(s): R Geary
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 9
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: The changing nature of industrial confrontations between police and coal miners is considered with special attention to factors which contributed to the violence in a recent coal strike.
Abstract: Traditionally, the close association between the trade union movement with a political party committed to democratic reform has had a restraining effect on striking workers. Similarly, the political necessity of maintaining broad public support has made contemporary governments reluctant to allow police actions that might be interpreted as unduly repressive. Under such constraints, picketing is primarily a symbolic confrontation, and violence is restricted to pushing and shoving. Serious disorders associated with coal strikes in 1984 suggest a new and more violent pattern of confrontation. Police response to industrial confrontation may have played a part in this. Since 1981, public order training has become riot control training. Associated with this emphasis in riot control has been the use of riot squads armed with shields and truncheons who charge the crowd and arrest ringleaders. The new tactics appear to be contributing to a changed attitude that discounts the importance of liaison between the police and strikers. Further, these new tactics place strikers in the frustrating situation of facing certain defeat, a situation which make hit and run tactics the only feasible alternative. The recent violence also probably was associated with the lack of support for the union, the internal disunity, militant leadership, and the length of the strike. These factors appear to have overridden the usual constraints on violence. For police, the greatest challenge in the future will be to ensure that these constraints, which appear to be still operative, are not offset by a tactical response that generates a viscious spiral of violence and destruction. Forty-one references are provided.
Index Term(s): Confrontation tactics; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Riot causes; Riot control; Riot control equipment; Riot patterns; Strikes
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