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Are police forces agents of the state or of society? How do different police forces maintain order? How does the nature of a country's political system affect the state's reaction to disorder? This study identifies trends in public-order policing across a broad sample of seven countries: Britain, Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic, the United States of America, Israel, South Africa and China. It explains why the handling of disorder has become a controversial and topical issue in different parts of the world. Each chapter provides a range of data on the size, make-up and cost of the police and follows a common format in analysing the place of the police at the junction of state-society relations.