The fusion of picketing, policing and public order theory within the industrial relations context of the 1992 APPM dispute at Burnie
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Policing can play a significant role in the processes, procedures and outcomes of major industrial confrontations. The 1992 APPM dispute provides the opportunity to gauge the usefulness of the ‘flashpoints’ theory during a protracted period of police and picketer cooperation that was followed by one day’s pitched battle. The decision of Justice Wright in the Tasmanian Supreme Court acted as a ‘spark’ to the bitter industrial dispute. Aspects of the ‘flashpoints’ theory can be assessed to explain why order, rather than disorder, was maintained for so long during the APPM dispute. The rapport that developed between local police and unionists was influential in avoiding violence at the picket lines. This case-study illustrates the importance of interactions between the police and the industrial protagonists in alleviating the chances of violence during volatile industrial disputation.