Fan Engagement Pod Episode Three: Prof. Cliff Stott & Owen West

Our guests in Episode Three, are Professor Cliff Stott from Keele University, and former Chief Superintendent Owen West, also a research associate at Keele. Both contribute to the Enable project, of which Cliff is Director. The project is constructing an evidence-based approach to the policing of football crowds funded by the English Football League (EFL). Full bios below. You can listen to the interview via the website, as well as all the major podcasting platforms.

We have split this episode into two parts: in the first part we discuss the history policing football crowds in English football, their early experience in changing practice, and talk at length about the hugely successful work with Cardiff City and the Valley Rams.

In the second part we go into more of the successes of the approach they advocate, looking at a recent match between Leeds United and Millwall. We also discuss the importance of the Supporter Liaison Officer role, where most English football clubs are currently failing to meet the expectations of the role (see the guidance issued by UEFA/SD Europe), and what they’ve achieved in Sweden by doing it the right way.

Key Insights from Episode Two

  1. The Supporter Liaison Officer role is critical to de-escalation of tensions on a matchday – see Cardiff City
  2. Policing of crowds has too often been about fear of the crowd, not engagement with it
  3. Positive engagement of fans in the policing of fans on a matchday is a huge benefit to the police, to clubs, and to fans themselves

Episode Links:

Professor Cliff Stott Full Bio

Cliff’s research revolves around crowd psychology, collective violence, protest, riots, hooliganism and policing. He is a social psychologist and criminologist. He has published over 60 articles in leading interdisciplinary journals and co-authored and edited three books. He works regularly with police forces, Governments and authorities across the world advising on crowd conflict management. He is widely recognized as a global expert in crowd psychology and public order policing. His research has been acknowledged by policy documents at national and international levels and underpins Human Rights based reforms of public order policing in several countries including the UK, Sweden and Denmark.

Owen West Full Bio

Owen is a retired Chief Superintendent, former Head of Specialist Operations and specialist in crowd policing, operational and contingency planning. He holds a Masters Degree with Distinction from Cambridge University in Applied Criminology and Police Management, and is a Research Fellow at Keele University.

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