POLICE Magazine Supplements

Civil Unrest 2017

Magazine for police and law enforcement

Issue link: https://policemag.epubxp.com/i/796170

Contents of this Issue


Page 9 of 19

10 S P E C I A L R E P O R T: C I V I L U N R E S T physical performance standard for their officers in these roles. However, they also have a duty of care, not only to the individual officer participating but also to the well-being and safety of the public order team as a whole. A Level 1 public order team uses highly skilled small team tactics that can have a great effect on a vastly superior number of protesters. e members of this team need to meet a fitness level so they can face threats and still achieve their mission goals. We have to be honest with ourselves, extreme violent disorder and physi- cal confrontation will take place dur- ing riots. e ability to deal with that violence physically and mentally is of paramount importance. And the fact is that when officers are not fit for the mission, they may resort to using an enhanced or excessive level of force to reduce the likely injury to ourselves or others. To avoid using excessive force or even appearing to use excessive force, a public order team needs training in physical defense, less-than-lethal- weapon systems and munitions, and legal powers. is training must be continually reviewed and must evolve to meet changes in law and moral constraints. Maintaining Level 1 public order team readiness is not easy. Officers have to be willing to partake in ex- treme stress, real-world scenario, and monthly in-service developmental skills training. EQUIPMENT STANDARDS P ublic order officers need to have effective personal protective equipment (PPE). Not all equipment is equal, which is why there have to be standards for personal protective equipment that meet the common threats officers face during violent disorder. Officers who are correctly equipped and have ready access to that equipment when needed will have greater confidence in their own personal protection. Suit- able PPE will put them in a positive mental state to deal with volatile situations. But officer confidence is not just about having the right equipment, it occurs because the officers are training with the right PPE under extremely stressful train- ing conditions. Public order officers training in PPE should be exposed to Molotov cocktails, thrown projectiles such as bricks and bottles, and abu- sive language targeting them as in- dividuals. e right training and PPE will condition them to react propor- tionately to real events. Equipment needs to meet a mini- mum requirement to protect officers so that when they are called in to deal with violent disorder, they will be pro- tected from many of the threats they will be exposed to. At this time, how- ever, there is no established U.S. pro- tection standard for this equipment. Looking at lessons learned by foreign law enforcement, who see violent public disorder on a regular basis and have already established protection standards, we can adopt the same. And I think this is the wisest option until a new commonly agreed upon standard can be set for the U.S. e current British standard cov- ers the individual officer from head to toe. e helmet is of a non-ballistic type that takes high impact blunt trauma from both pointed and blunt objects such as a brick thrown at 40 mph. It should also have the ability to shed burning gasoline and protect the full face against threats from projectiles and fire. A fire-resistant balaclava should be worn under the helmet in the event of Molotovs being used against the officer. is balaclava is not to conceal the identity of the of- ficer but instead to protect against injury. On the officer's main torso, they should wear a Merino long sleeve, long pant base layer. is will help regulate the officer's core tempera- ture in extremes of heat and cold. ey will also wear protective limb and groin guards that will protect them from bricks and other projec- tiles thrown at 40 mph. Over the top of the base layer, the officers will wear a burn- ing gasoline shedding over suit. is protects the officers and it conceals the presence of the limb protection and armor, so Beyond the Mobile Field Force Level 1 team members must be at a fitness level to face threats and still achieve mission goals. Working public order events can be physically and mentally draining for officers. Ongoing training with other local agencies ensures all officers will be able to work together seamlessly. Public order team members must be ready to react appropriately to all manner of attacks.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of POLICE Magazine Supplements - Civil Unrest 2017