Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Poster of my research

I'm very pleased that a poster I entered for an internal competition at my University has won second prize!

It summarises the interview studies I did into mass emergencies with John Drury when I was at the University of Sussex, and can be seen at;

Monday, 14 May 2012

Liars & Outliers Book review

In  2010 I attended a conference on Security and Human Behaviour at the University of Cambridge (, where academics explored ways of helping people operate more safely in an increasingly uncertain world, and spoke about the resilience of crowd behaviour in mass  emergencies. After that I offerred to proof read a draft of a book by one of the organisers, and he very kindly sent me a copy, so I thought it only fair to give it a quick plug;

Bruce Schneier's new book 'Liars and Outliers' is a very readable book that looks at how society depends upon trust to operate, and that things would quickly grind to a halt if people did not place trust in each other for a multitude of vital social functions. It is grounded in sound theoretical perspectives, drawing upon well established psychological explanations for human behaviour, such as social dilemmas, where immediate individual interest may not always be for the greater collective good. It's helpfully peppered with tables that illustrate the issues involved in such social dilemmas, and supported by a variety of evidence from economic, technological, and psychological approaches- well worth a read.

Published by John Wiley and Sons and details of how to get copies are on his web-site;

Friday, 4 May 2012

Student protestors acquitted

Good news today for two brothers who were unanimously acquitted by a jury on charges of violent disorder at the tuition fee protest outside Parliament on Dec 9th 2010. So far there have been 11 acquittals and one conviction from the charges arising out of this demo, and there have been accusations of the Police either attempting to mislead the Court or of outright lies in their evidence.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Metropolitan Police stock-piling rubber bullets

Rather worrying story that an investigation by the BBC has found that since the summer 2011 riots in the capital, the Met have increased their stock-pile of rubber bullets from 700 to over 10,000.

The history of their use in Northern Ireland during the Troubles (and still to this day) has shown that they do not reduce the chances of public disorder, nor its severity once it occurs. Furthermore, they can and do have lethal effects on those unfortunate enough to get in the way (who are not always the intended target, as they are not very accurate).

Indeed, the use of forms of distance weaponry (such as rubber bullets and water cannon), mean that the Police will be further detached from people on the ground, which can only reduce the chances for dialogue and mutual trust between Police and crowds, and make increased disorder more likely in future.