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PUBLIC ORDER POLICING IN CAPE TOWN: SAPS PRIORITY COMMITTEE Irvin Kinnes Centre of Criminology, UCT.

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Presentation on theme: "PUBLIC ORDER POLICING IN CAPE TOWN: SAPS PRIORITY COMMITTEE Irvin Kinnes Centre of Criminology, UCT."— Presentation transcript:

1 PUBLIC ORDER POLICING IN CAPE TOWN: SAPS PRIORITY COMMITTEE Irvin Kinnes Centre of Criminology, UCT

2 2 INTRODUCTION Policing public events has been legislated in the South African Police Services Act (68 of 1995) and the Regulation of Gatherings Act (205 of 1993) Section 17 of the SAPS Act regulates the establishment of a national public order police unit The Regulation of Gatherings Act (205 of 1993) makes provision for the role of SAPS in policing such protests The POPs units were disbanded by the previous police commissioner in 1998 These units had the responsibility for policing such events such as public order protests, demonstrations, strikes, mega –events that required crowd management

3 CONTEXT The context for the conference comes at a time when service delivery and other protests across the country has increased During the run up to the staging of the FIFA World Cup there have increased protest from almost every sector in society It creates sufficient grounds for discontent and anger directed at the organs of government Local government in particular has shown that it has borne the brunt of service delivery protest actions Many of the protest has occurred in Gauteng Province with the Western Cape and KZN provinces There is unevenness in the manner in which protests are policed

4 RE-DEFINING PUBLIC ORDER Governments across the globe are facing a challenge to their leadership on their management of the economy, wealth distribution and austerity measures Greece, United Kingdom and South Africa have been at the cutting edge of public order protest in the last six months The issue of public order has to be re-visited because it makes certain assumptions about human behaviour that is no longer valid given a fast changing world Technology has helped create opportunities to organise differently and this has also affected how people organise protest: Flash crowds, social networking sites and sports gatherings have all become opportunities for organised resistance in particular cases

5 POLICE RESPONSES Police responses to public order protest in recent times has been uneven and inconsistent within the parameters of existing policies and law. The inability of the police to follow established protocols on policing public order has often led to the injury and death of protesters. In many cases, Metro Police arrive on the scene long before SAPS arrive. The chain of command has been erratic and inconsistent with Metro police and SAPS not always agreeing on the model of policing the crowds. Illegal demonstrations, legal demonstrations and spontaneous rioting drew different responses. Provincial approaches has also been different.

6 UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF POLICE ACTIONS In some cases Police have unconsciously acted as ‘organisers’ of crowds through their sheer presence. The visibility and presence of police vehicles sometimes becomes the reason why more people in protest situations join in violence. Leaders of protest are able to give crowds a quick look at the “common enemy”, even if they did not have one. The police become the opportunity for further extending the protest when all they wanted was to satisfy their demands were being met. Crowds are easily misled when there is no discernable and strong leadership

7 CASE STUDY: WC POLICE PRIORITY COMMITTEE The WCPC was called together to address threats in the taxi industry and with gangs It was an operational response that was premised on the fact that inter-agency police co-operation was critical to good policing It was led by SAPS and co-chaired by the Metro Police It met on a regular basis and dealt with emerging threats in the transport sector, strikes and other public service delivery protest The POPS unit was deployed as soon as the command was given to deploy.

8 NAMING NAMES Riot Control Unit – Pre 1990’s Internal Stability Unit - 1990 Public Order Policing Unit - 1995 Area Crime Combating Unit- 1996 Public Order Policing Unit- Current

9 FUNCTIONS Protests including strikes, marches etc. Big Events Public Transport related violence Gang Violence – especially dealing with the ability to draw massive hostile crowds Application of Standing Order 262

10 TECHNIQUES USED Team is mobile, has skills, resources and required techniques Trained in non-lethal engagement methods Use the herding tactic Crowd management techniques Use of water-hoses, teargas must be effective Close combat techniques: pepper spray and body armour

11 WC CAPE POPS Did not immediately disband- ACCU in barracks when not deployed –training Inter-governmental Relations Framework Act Joint Operational Intelligence Structures (Joints) Prov-joints and Nat-joints declare priorities Taxis a priority Moved into 13 Areas Developed an early warning system together with TDRU Created a provincial structure for engagement Priority Committee Predictability of crowd behaviour Regulate gatherings

12 WHY DID IT SUCCEED? Joint Planning and preparation Early warning systems maintained Engagement of Parties Accountability of actors Joint identification of threats Joint work plans with Metro and Traffic Police Structured, routinized meetings Command and control not questioned by actors Unity of Command Chaired by SAPS, Metro police deputy-chair Priority Committee was a police led security committee

13 OTHER REASONS FOR SUCCESS Operation Mongoose: Roadblocks and Helicopter Drops Visible Control Points –regular Use of standardized equipment: Bullet casings and shields - same specification Same manufacturers “Holding the line” – rules of engagement Minimum conditions for intervention set down Legal support must be present – assistance w.r.t. criminal dockets Battle formations routines, catch squads Setting up the physical space for engagement Deal to deal with people crossing the “line”

14 CONCLUSION Police cannot become the “organizer’ of the protest Consider tactical withdrawal in some cases 1 st Responder Crowd control must run through the fibre of the organization Unity of command must be adhered to by all law enforcement officials dealing with public protests Conference should consider rules for reviewing POP practices Recent British police examples have shown that discontent among young people is fertile ground for protest and resistance Policing should not and cannot be political, but professional in its planning, preparation and delivery

15 Thank You Questions?


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