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CRIM 3655
James Sheptycki

CRIM 3655 – FALL BOOK NOTES Readings for November 5 , 2013 th Waddington & King: Flashpoints Revisited Introduction - Developed by Waddington to explain why some potentially disorderly incidents (“flashpoints”) fail to ignite, while other, similar, incidents can trigger off an explosive social reaction - Article applies this model to two anti-globalization protests, the 2001 summit of Americas in Quebec City and 2002 G8 protest in Ottawa An Overview of the Flashpoints Model - Origins rooted in explanations of riotous behaviour that focus on the precipitating incident - Locates the cause or incident into a wider contextual frame, and can be used to explain why disorder did not occur - The further you go into the circle, the more of a micro approach it becomes Structural - Refers to material inequalities, inferior life chances and patterns of political impotence that underpin collective grievances in society - Powerlessness may be compounded by presence of repressive legislation capable of stifling possible dissent, and police accountability structures impervious to democratic influence Political/Ideological - Concerned with the way key political and ideological institutions, such as prominent politicians, media, senior police and other opinion-shapers, react to stated demands and activities of protesting groups - Dissident groups widely defined as problematic or marginal to the political mainstream likely to be treated more harshly by the police Cultural - Deals with contrasting ways of life and thought that groups develop on the basis of shared material conditions, experiences and location in the social structure - These cultures inform their attitudes to the potential use of violence and recipes of action relevant to particular situations - Order breaking down more likely when officers from “outside” forces not attuned to local political cultures are drafted in on a temporary basis Contextual - Concerned with dynamic communication processes occurring in the build-up to an event that make it more or less conducive to disorder - Might include such factors as a negative recent history of inter-group relations between police and protesters, the arousing effects of rumours, media sensationalism, and threatening statements by the police or protest organizers - Potential for disorder can be offset by negotiation between representatives of the police and demonstrators - In the absence of dialogue, police will resort to extensive intelligence-gathering and surveillance Situational - Deals with those spatial or social determinants of order or disorder pertaining to the actual setting of the relevant social interaction - For example, certain physical properties of the location, such as the extent to which it facilitates police surveillance or enables demonstrators the freedom to leave the area in the event of police attempts to disperse them - Important how the relevant space is managed by both sides - Order is more likely maintained where a low-key style of policing is adopted in which riot-clad reinforcements are hidden away as a last resort to avoid having a provocative presence - Subjective component concerned with the way each party “reads” the behaviour and intentions of its rivals Interactional - Concerned with the quality of social interaction between police and protestors, which is likely to vary in the degree of respect, cooperation, provocation and restraint exhibited by both parties - Significance is that they are invariably interpreted symbolically as indicating refusal by one or both sides to accommodate the perceived “rights”, interests and objectives of their opponents - Danger that any of these actions might set off a spiral of recrimination is enhanced when they are accompanied by intensifiers like characteristics of the individuals concerned (e.g. high- ranking police officers or a member of a vulnerable category such as a woman or a child) - Problem for police is that control tactics interpreted as “unreasonable” and in violation of citizens’ rights can unify protestors in face of a common “enemy” Developing the Flashpoints Model - Criticism is that it is neither analytically useful nor empirically testable - The new-found solidarity and potency of crowd members increases their readiness to challenge the police - Other critiques of the model indicate possible naivety regarding spatial and temporal dimensions of outbreaks of disorder o Such events rarely policed on basis of strict pre-planning or outright adherence to a single set of strategic options - Della Porta outline possible variables that help determine or influence outbreaks of disorder o Factors such as configuration of political power within the specific state, institutional characteristics of the police, as well as their occupational culture, and public opinion o Second level is “police knowledge” – police perception of external reality helps shape the concrete policing on the ground  different for different levels of police hierarchy and for different police branches - Important to consider the extent to which the police may reciprocally adapt their tactics in light of previous encounters - P.A.J. Waddington believes that police public order strategies generally calculated by balancing out the likelihood of two possible forms of trouble: o On the job trouble: operational – referring to the need to use force and risk safety of colleagues o In the job trouble: political, concerning the fallout (negative publicity, inquiries or investigations) resulting from controversial police action o Sometimes, prospect of in the job trouble may induce firm measures by police that outweigh any corresponding concerns regarding on the job trouble o It is believed there are certain “occasions, locations and personalities” for which and on whose behalf the police would automatically be prepared to “die in a ditch” o Senior police officers attempt to avoid disorder by negotiating with protest organizers o Problem is that nowadays, many of the new social movements are decentralized and lack formal leadership, making it difficult for police negotiators to engage them in meaningful pre-event liaison  Will result in police focusing more on intelligence-gathering - The flashpoint model needs to show more temporal sensitivity by highlighting the existence of concurrent events o Likely that events will ignite and unfold in different geographical spaces – sometimes happening autonomously or concurrently, which each making more or less contribution to the overall level of disorder Contextualisation of the Two Case Studies The International Policing Context - Seattle (1999) thousands of anti-globalization demonstrators protested against World Trade Organization summit o Protestors blocked access to the summit conference, so police released tear gas to clear path - Events such as the IMF Summit, Czech city of Prague, G8 Summit in Genoa and others show the policing methods being less compromising, more forceful and violent The Canadian Policing Context - Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Vancouver 1997 - Attracted over 3000 demonstrators - RCMP adopted a controversially uncompromising modus operandi involving the demarcation of a security zone, which was cordoned off by ten-foot wire-mesh fencing - Police used bicycles as battering rams and extensive use of pepper spray - Ericson and Doyle attribute RCMP’s change of heart to two important factors: o Political pressure exerted by Indonesian government to ensure its delegates were insulated from any protest o Indonesian police had given notice that they would not hesitate from shooting demonstrators if need be  Added incentive for RCMP to keep a tight lid on any disturbance - RCMP were advised to show greater commitment to an open door policy of meeting protest organizers prior to protest events and giving greater advance warning to those liable to be subjected to pepper spray - With fear aroused by intervening anti-globalization protests in Seattle and Washington, Canadian police officers opted for a similar “fortress” strategy for the summit meeting of the Organization of American States (OAS) in 2000 o Used 8 foot high concrete metal fence o However, this was seen as successful event to police because of use of prior intelligence, effective coordination between forces involved and a venue capable of being adapted into a makeshift fortress An Overview of the Summit of the Americas Protest, Quebec City, 2001 - Involved 680 army personnel and almost 7000 police officers drawn from four separate forces - Police erected a 6km security wall to cordon off the conference site from demonstrators - Various bodies, over 2000, congregated for an alternative “Second People’s Summit of the Americas” and began to march towards the wall - Shortly after arriving, small group of protestors penetrated the wall, and police fired tear gas, plastic bullets and water cannons into the crowd, provoking wider confrontation, lasting two hours - Following day, up to 60,000 protestors came and followed a route that bypassed the perimeter wall, resulting in a trouble-free event Applying the Flashpoints Model (I): Analyzing the Quebec City Protest Structural - What motivates the myriad opposition forces to travel across countries and continents is that they think the im
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