WHAT ARE THE CONCERNS WHEN DEVELOPING THE EXISTING CROWD DISPERSAL DRILLS OF BASIC INFANTRY TACTICS?
1.A crowd we can describe as more or less large gathering or individuals in one place in close physical proximity to one another with a tendency to develop psychological interaction. Control a crowd is a very important thing to the police as well as to the military. Therefore, as officers of the military crowd, the aspects to handle a crowd peacefully and disperse it with the minimum use of force and to understand the behavior according to the situation are most concerned things in the handling of the crowd and disperse using the military.
A crowd gathering for any incident usefully because of injustice. Sometimes with the delay of the police action and effective legal action make the opportunity for the crowd or individual to react as well as to infract. Most of the time they do not obey the legal instructions and act aggressively.
2.Crowd dispersal drill is the measure used by the police, military or other security forces to control to disperse and to arrest people who are involved in a riot, demonstration or protest. Riots may spontaneous and irrational. If it is, a action which make people stop and think for a moment (eg: loud noises or issuing instructions in a calm tone) can be enough to stop it. When there is severe anger with a legitimate issue or riot is well planned or organized, these methods may fail.
3.At present Government of Sri Lanka is facing a sequence of riots, demonstration and protests mainly in Western Province. Not only this situation affects the daily routine of civil society but also it badly affects to the economy of the country. And also, these situations are harmful to the reputation of Sri Lanka over other countries.
4.To study and to analyze the development of the existing crowd dispersal drills of basic infantry tactics.
The individuals gather to form a crowd, has certain characteristics as follows:
a. Heathendom Emotion. This is an important characteristic in a crowd. The gain of attention, feeling of expectancy, tension, stress and its release, the loud shouting, booing, or cheering are major observations normal reluctance to show their emotions.
b. Heightened suggestibility. The crowd individually accept the suggestion and take actions as a crowd.
c. Irresponsibility and lack of moral inhabitation. Individually not attending to the activities tend to get crowd irresponsibility dried if its form the crowd.
d.The tendency of the group. The crowds draw strength their manner and therefore they are keeping a good grip among the individual for preventing leaving from the crowd.
6.Though there are various types of crowd we can identify and classify them into gap four types.
a. Casual Crowd.The collection of proper communication to see the common goals of the end. They are not regular members and time to time they come and leave from the crowd. Such as people in railway a flat form, a crowd in fair, crowd at the site of a traffic accident. It can be disposed on command.
b.Entertainment Crowd.This gathering of people for central focus and similar ends such as gathering for sport event, support for their team or crowd gathering to witness republic day or Independence Day celebrations. Such groups are unorganized and generally peaceful. The police should provide legal regulations and policies for such crowds.
c.Expressive Crowd.This type of crowds are expressing their feelings by dancing events or celebrating national victory events. Their feelings and sentiments express freely and crowd release energy through the dancing or movement. This crowd can be controlled by imposing the policies.
d.Aggressive Crowd.This aggressive type crowd, active aggressively towards the violence action and we can observe it in political, students and commercial demonstrations. This crowd usually active based on the leader, principles or achieving objectives.
PRESENT CROWD DISPERSAL DRILLS, TACTICS AND EMPLOYMENT ADOPTED BY THE POLICE AND SPECIAL TASK FORCE
7. The Police crowd dispersal duties are laid down in the Department Orders 19A and Code of Criminal Procedure No 15 of 1979. In both of these documents, crowd dispersal duties have been addressed under Unlawful Assembly.
8. Moreover, moving on to the Police Riot Drills mentioned in the Department Orders 19A, it includes several steps such as Preparatory, doubling & extending, standing load, object, firing, changing direction and finally cease-fire. Before performing the riot drills it is expected and surely it is a must to convey a warning orders to the rioters.
9. When it comes to the present day crowd control drills adopted by the police and STF, it is very similar to army procedure by the nature of the written document. But when it comes to the practical execution of the operation, it is totally different from what is taught in the book.
10. The initial procedure taken by the police is taking a court order to prevent the crowd from entering into a specific location and in order to inform it to the rioters. After that, the police will establish barricades to stop the crowd from entering the banned location. If the situation gets out of control police will seek the assistance of STF to control the rioters. Finally, the police will use tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets and non-lethal weapons to disperse the crowd.
11. For the purpose of controlling the crowd, the police or STF will not adopt a specific drill in practical scenario whereas they will react to the situation according to the situation develops.
12. As the police or STF is not adopting proper drills and not considering the number of troops required to deploy for such some operation, rioters gaining more advantage by the actions which are undertaking by the Police and STF.
MILITARY ASSISTANCE TO THE POLICE DURING CROWD DISPERSAL DUTIES
13.Military and police as established in the state in the purpose of internal security and protection of the Island. In the same occasion, the military assists the police to keep the law and order in the country. The theoretical aspects and procedure of military cooperation with the police and other legal and government institutes are more important to address the practical situation. Because more establishments work together. The right time to call for military assistance is very important for the crowd dispersal duties, because this was evident with Rathupaswala incident. When conducting such kind of joint tasks orders and duties should be clearly understand by both parties. It can overcome the practical challenges. Military assistance for the police is a very rare occasion. The military will be engaging with civil society during the urgent or serious situations which police or STF cannot control the situation. When we concern about Sri Lanka, we can divide crowd dispersal duties into two sectors. Those are military crowd dispersal and police crowd dispersal duties.
14. According to the Section 95 (1) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, any Magistrate or a Police officer not below the rank of IP (Inspector of Police) may command any unlawful assembly likely to cause a disturbance of peace to disperse. Also, Section 95 (2) describes the procedures to the use of Military Force to disperse an unlawful assembly when Police is unable to do so.
15. According to the police riot control drill mentioned in the Department order 19A including steps such as preparation, doubling and extending standing load object, firing, cheering direction and ceasefire before dispersing the riot warning orders conveyed to the rioters.
CROWD DISPERSAL DUTIES OF ARMED FORCES
16.The word Military means three forces, Army, Navy and Air Force. This has been further clarified with the usage of interpretation in Section 95 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure. However, mainly SL Army has been engaging in assisting the Police force during crowd dispersal duties in the country. Section 95 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure describes that if upon being commanded any such assembly does not disperse then the Magistrate or the Police Officer may proceed to disperse using such force as is reasonably necessary. Moreover, Section 95 (3) explains the use of military force to disperse an assembly when called upon by a Magistrate or the Government Agent (GA) of the District or any Police Officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police (SP) may cause it to be dispersed by requiring any commissioned or non-commissioned officer in command of any personnel of the Sri Lanka Army, Navy or Air Force.
17. Sri Lanka Army is following British pamphlet and military crowd dispersal drill executed in line with the pamphlet. It gives guidance on the tactic and technics to be used by the military for supporting in dealing with civil disobedient, unlawful assembles and riots.
18. When we compare military crowd dispersal duties with police duties. It is wider than the police duties, because police duties focus only to unlawful assemblies. Under the practical situation, we can gain more experience from the Rathupaswala incident. The factory relates to the incident situated at Rathnapura, Weliveriya in Gampaha district. The resident in the area accused to the factory authority for being an irresponsible disposal of waste water and it effects to the environmental pollution in the area and disturbance to the lively hood of the population in the area. They shouted and protested and blocked the Kandy- Colombo road of the area and police fired tear gas to disperse them on the road.
19. Finally, the army engaged with the incident in order to control the situation and as a result, 3 civilians died and 10 protesters were hospitalized because of the clash between the protestors and security forces and the Police. According to the code of criminal under section 95 and 96 Police can summon the security forces to assist to dissolve the protest. On 3 July 2018 a gazette notification was published as per the instruction given by the then His Excellency the President Mahinda Rjapaksha authorizing the armed forces to engage in the maintain public order and bring the military to Rathupaswala under this new gazette notification. It is pointed out the responsibility of maintaining the law and order with the legal framework in Sri Lanka is the function of the police and armed forces addition to their responsible for the national security of the country.
RIOT CONTROL LEGAL ASPECTS AS PER THE PENAL CODE OF SRI LANKA
20. Authority to Disperse an Unlawful Assembly. Any Magistrate or Police officer not below the rank of Inspector of Police, is able to take due actions to disperse an unlawful assembly under the Section 95(1) of the Code of criminal procedure act no.15 of 1979. As well as any Magistrate or a police officer not below the rank of IP can affiliate civilians (Not Armed Forces) for the purpose of dispersing such an assembly when it is reasonably necessary according to the Section 95(2) of the Code of criminal procedure act no. 15, 1979.
21. Authority to Convene Army to Disperse an Unlawful Assembly.A Magistrate or the Government Agent (GA) of the District or any police officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police has legal authority to convene any personnel of the Sri Lanka Army if any such assembly cannot be otherwise dispersed. [Code of criminal procedure act (no. 15 of 1979) sect 95(3)].
22. Power of Commissioned Military Officers to Disperse an Unlawful Assembly Without Convening by Above Mentioned Authorities. When the public security is manifestly endangered by any such assembly and when a Magistrate, the Government Agent or a police officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police cannot be communicated with, any commissioned officer of the Sri Lanka Army, Navy or Air Force may disperse such assembly by military force and may arrest and confine any persons forming part of it in order to disperse such assembly or that they may be punished according to the law. But if while he is acting under this section it becomes practicable for him to communicate with the Magistrate or Government Agent or a police officer, not below the rank of Superintendent of Police he shall do so and shall thereafter obey the instructions of such Government Agent or police officer as to whether he shall or shall not continue such action. [Code of criminal procedure act (no. 15 of 1979) sect 96)
23. It is essential to provide proper a training for the soldiers specially operating in civil disturbance operations. Well trained soldiers will be able to prevent mistakes and adopt the correct procedures to deal with various situations.
24. Riot training should be focused on the following aspects.
a. Manage peaceful crowds effectively.
b. Identification of the difference between an unlawful assembly and a constitutionally protected gathering of people.
c. Apply defensible arrest tactics when facing active resistance or passive resistance and be prepared to recognize the differences.
d.Demonstrate defensible subject control and wooden baton techniques.
e. Make tactically sound arrests, which are prosecutable.
f.Perform classic crowd control formations, crossbow movements, and operate as an effective field force under stress.
g. Have some grenadiers available trained in the deployment of chemical munitions and impact munitions.
h. Recognize the type of crowd they are facing.
Identify dangerous behaviors in a crowd.
i. Implement their role in the departments plan.
25.Trained commanders should be:
a. Able to lead these teams effectively.
b.Able to recognize when their teams should change out of their soft covers and into full gear.
c.Able to competently lead a trained crowd control unit. Ranks bestowing does not automatically transfer knowledge, skill and ability.
d.When training the RIOT teams teaching the planning process should focus on the following:
e.Plan to have intelligence gathering, including pre-event communications with event organizers.
f.Plan to have a public information specialist, who is an expert at rumor control.
g.Delegating responsibility and authority to commanders on the scene.
h.A callout protocol for additional personnel
i.A pre-set detour plan for anticipated hot-spots.
l.Additional vehicle and radio acquisition plan.
m.Prisoner transport and mass booking plan.
n.Evidence packaging/holding and report writing plan.
p.Protective response plan for gun stores and drug stores.
t.If the event is prolonged, a housing, feeding, and relief plan for officers working the event.
26.Further, it is essential to train soldiers on the handling of riot shields and riot batons as discussed under the topic of Riot Shield, Riot Baton and the Techniques.
27.Crowd control is an essential subject for security forces in the present day as riots and unlawful assemblies are happening so frequently and as it disturbs the smooth functioning of day to day work routine of the normal public in the main townships.
28. As an army, it is our prime responsibility to be ready at any given time to deploy and control an unlawful assembly anywhere in the country. For that Army need to have specially trained teams and ready to execute the above task. Those teams must be thorough in crowd behavior, habits, equipment which used by the crowd.
29.It was repeatedly appreciated in this paper that remain major differences of the crowd dispersal duties in the pragmatism of both organizations Military and Police. Therefore, in order to overcome this challenge, it is recommended to draft a new legal notion of combined tasks of Military and Police crowd dispersal duties
30. When we concern about the crowd dispersal, military use the principle of Minimum force and police expected to use necessary force. Within simple words, carry heavy gravity and task that are expected to perform.
31.In military and police duties there are no main tasks, combined or joint operations except the crowd dispersal duties with the military and police. Therefore it should recommend doing the joint or combine duties with the military and police to develop good coordination and combination among the police and security forces when conducting duties with civilians such as crowd-dispersal duties.
32.It is the most important aspect; we are following British pamphlet its emphasize that we should consider about the law and order in the country when conducting the disperse of the crowd using the military.
33. The police should call to assist in the ideal time to the military for the assistance. Otherwise, pre-mature calling has led to the whole process may disorder. We have evidence with the Rathupaswala incident too.
34.Considering all the above factors, in order to change the current system for crowd dispersal, two suggestions can be made out. First the assistance should not be taken from the military and to further take necessary action to disperse the unlawful assembly solely by the Police. Secondly, is to make necessary amendments to the British Pamphlet and Police riot drill, and recommend military assistance to Police.
35.The individual officer and the security forces as a group must not lose self- control when dealing with riots.
36.Draft a new legal notion with suitable combination duties of both organizations of Military and Police crowd dispersal duties.
37.Wordings used in this kind of situations must be rectified strategically. For example, the military said to use the principle of Minimum Force, whereas in Police it is expected to use Necessary Force.
38.Using only military force for the operations such as crowd control in very crucial situations without having a combined force.
39.Filming persons engaged in unlawful conduct is recommended as a future record for court proceedings to show that crimes were being committed and the identity of the persons committing those crimes.
40.Publish a proper document related to civil disturbance operations by the nature of field manuals in both Sinhala and English languages.
41.Use developed non-lethal weapons to minimize the damage that can be caused to the normal public.
42.Proper legal procedures to be adopted before deploying the riot control teams, importantly when military deploying to control riots it must be in writing by an authorized person.
43.Plan riot control training based on real-time scenarios to give the soldiers the real feeling of the situation.
44.Develop ROE which is based on our own law and international law.
AMCSK AGALAWATTA SLLICaptStudent Officer
1.Code of Criminal Procedure No 15 of 1979.
2. (Accessed 20 July 2019).
3. (Accessed 22 July 2019).