A STUDY at the University of Chester has analysed how Cheshire Police officers respond to hostile situations involving crowds.

The research, led by Dr Libby Damjanovic, from the university’s psychology department, showed experienced officers were best at spotting troublemakers during incidents like a protest.

She used the ‘face in the crowd’ method, where subjects are shown a rapid succession of faces and are asked to identify those which display threat.

Dr Damjanovic said: “The results showed that experienced officers can hone in on aggressive cues with split-second precision, and that they can maintain this high level of performance under a range of difficult viewing conditions.

“This level of precision is achieved by keeping their emotions in check – especially in the face of hostile encounters.”