The French Gendarmerie National and Police National, that country’s two law enforcement agencies, have just completed a four-week train-the-trainer programme with their South African counterparts that have schooled the latter in the use of newly acquired crowd control equipment.
National police spokesman Captain Dennis Adriao says 120 SA Police Service instructors underwent a one month train-the-trainer programme in the effective management of unruly crowds.
The training ended with a demonstration that “not only marked the successful conclusion of an intensive course but it also provided South Africans and the world an opportunity to witness our rapid progress in our preparations for the FIFA 2010 Soccer World Cup, in this case, particularly in crowd management,” Adriao says.
“To test the effectiveness of this equipment, we integrated the use of our newly acquired water canons and 200 trainees as a mock unruly crowd”.
The simulation, yesterday, to which the media was invited, comprised of two parts, one an outside-the-stadium scenario and the other inside.
The outside flare-up simulated a clash between supporters and stadium stewards, while that inside featured a pitch invasion, intimidation of players and the evacuation of VIPs.
“This skills transfer will not only be valuable for the SAPS during the 2010 tournament, but will leave a lasting legacy of strengthened capacity and capability,” Adriao adds.
“It will enhance SAPS` ability to manage public order and contribute to urban security, in an efficient, professional and democratic manner.”
Adriao says the training follows a visit to France in May where police officials acquainted themselves with the methods employed by their French counterparts during the 1998 Soccer World Cup and the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
The training programme included:
· Basic professional instruction,
· “Normal” and “tactical” platoon tactics, techniques and procedures
· Formulation of a mission statement inspired by that of the French national police, but adapted to the South African context.
Adriao says the public order training “forms part of the fruitful French-South African police co-operation” that also seeks to strengthen SA`s capacity in fields such as maritime policing (sea border policing and coastal monitoring), the Special Task Force, the training of detective and the intelligence services and forensics.
The SAPS have thus far been successful in the management of public disorder incidents, the Rugby and Cricket World Cups and the World Summit on Sustainable Development, says the Institute for Security Studies.
(Pictures courtesy of the SAPS Journal and police spokesman Captain Denis Adriao)