Policing expert Clifford Stott ’s latest analysis of last year’s anti-government unrest makes for familiar reading. Best-known in Hong Kong for quitting an official probe into the unrest as a protest against the Independent Police Complaints Council, he has now offered his own version of what happened last year. By and large, his analysis adheres closely to the narrative of the anti-government protest movement, which has also become the accepted wisdom of the international press. It follows to a tee his earlier notion or theory of how “coercive” policing – rather than one based on consensus and community building – causes crowds such as British football fans, to become more violent than they would otherwise. Stott is the lead author of “Patterns of ‘Disorder’ During the 2019 Protests in Hong Kong: Policing, Social Identity, Intergroup Dynamics, and Radicalisation”, published in Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice . As we have heard before, the firing of tear gas by police outside the Legislative Council complex on June 12 last year marked a “pivotal moment” when they were first seen as “illegitimate” and “partisan”. Then the July 1 occupation of the legislature consolidated and empowered the group identity of the protesters and unified a sense of common purpose. The events in Yuen Long on July 21 further encouraged the perception that the police were in league with underground triad elements against the public. Hong Kong police turned protesters into violent radicals, British expert claims “It was in this context of the almost complete collapse of police legitimacy among protesters that radicalisation took place,” Stott and his co-authors wrote. So, the police and the government “radicalised” the protesters and turned them to violence. If only police had stopped using force, instead, held dialogues and negotiated … Well, who knows? Maybe it would have worked, but it wasn’t tried, opportunity missed. It takes two to tango. The opposing sides were locked in a dynamical and escalating situation, day in and day out. What were supposed to be peaceful protests turned increasingly violent. Protesters were told or told themselves, they were heroes fighting for the future of Hong Kong. Hands-off or light tactics in crowd control – the professor’s favoured tactics – were perceived by police to be increasingly ineffective and emboldening protesters to take further action. As protesters turned violent, they delegitimised their own “peaceful” rallies. There are always two or more sides to a story. At least Professor Stott got one side right.