Birmingham & Black Country

Expert analyses Birmingham riot 'mob mentality'

Scientists and researchers have been analysing riot footage hoping to learn more about the way crowds behave so preventative measures can be adopted.

Dr Patrick Tissington, associate dean of business partnerships at Aston University, viewed footage of an attack on a sweet shop in Birmingham.

It was targeted in the city's first recent wave of disorder on 8 August.

Dr Tissington said the "mob mentality" could come from one person not being stopped, leading to others joining in.

'Most extreme rioters'

A series of small events during disorder can turn a crowd into a mob, he added.

West Midlands Police has released CCTV of the incident and appealed for the public to help identify those involved in the attack on the store and other shops on Upper Bull Street, which took place at the height of the disorder.

Image caption Footage of the attacked appeared on YouTube and was released by police

There were many witnesses at the time of the offences, a spokesman said.

The footage shows one or two young men trying to smash the shop's window before others join as a crowd watches.

Dr Tissington said: "When one person goes at it, several others join in because it's now been established it's OK to do that because someone is doing that and no one is stepping in to stop them.

"People are just watching them do it.

"They are playing to the group around them and showing that they are the most extreme rioters, if you like, and that person by standing out first is showing themselves to be more worthy of membership of the group."

He described the rioting in the city as "very fast moving, in quite small numbers happening in large numbers of places at once".

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