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Towards standards for the appropriate selection and use of less lethal technologies and restraints. Abi Dymond, Omega Research Foundation.

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Presentation on theme: "Towards standards for the appropriate selection and use of less lethal technologies and restraints. Abi Dymond, Omega Research Foundation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Towards standards for the appropriate selection and use of less lethal technologies and restraints. Abi Dymond, Omega Research Foundation.

2 Overview of presentation. About the Omega Research Foundation. About “use of force” project – methodology. Interim findings – feedback wanted! Questions and comments.

3 About Omega. MSP technologies, especially LL and restraints Monitor; –Market –Trade –Use Awareness raising and advisory services to: –Police services including PSNI, GMP, –HOSDB, NIST –Torture prevention and inspection mechanisms –National and regional authorities

4 4 The “appropriate use of force” project. EC funded. Standards for policing equipment; International standards valuable… But out-dated. Lack of detail – difficult to apply

5 5 Added value / methodology: Less lethal and restraints. Global perspective. Standardised framework Multidisciplinary.

6 Relevance to public order policing in South Africa: Public order contentious issue world wide New policy opportunity to address key issues: South Africa regional position Presentation focusing on: Selection and testing Training / Guidelines for use Evaluation Accountability

7 7 Selection and testing procedure. Article 2 of the Basic Principles: Governments and law enforcement agencies should develop “non-lethal incapacitating weapons for use in appropriate situations, with a view to increasingly restraining the application of means capable of causing death or injury to persons”. Less injurious than means currently available

8 8 Selection and testing procedure. 1)Needs assessment - set operational requirement. 2)Independent technical assessment against standards. Accuracy. Discriminate – “uninvolved persons”. Reliability. Life-span. Force no more than “strictly necessary”. Forensic traceability.

9 9 Selection and testing procedure. 3) Independent human rights assessment. 4) Piloting. 5) Legally constituted

10 10 Guidelines and training should: Soundly based on regional and international law – Article 11: Prescribe types permitted and circumstances. Used only in appropriate circumstances and in manner likely to decrease risk of unnecessary harm.. Prohibit devices that cause unwarranted injury or risk.. Regulate the control, storage and issuing of such devices. Warnings to be given, if appropriate. A system of reporting whenever officials use such devices. Independent Potentially lethal Principles – but not tactics – publicly available.

11 “You don’t need to be accurate for crowd control” CEO, less lethal ammunition manufacturer.

12 12 Kinetic Impact. Launched kinetic impact: Highly inaccurate Concerns exacerbated by multiple projectiles… and by skip-firing. Significant difference in advertised velocity.

13 13 Guidelines for use: Kinetic Impact. Only systems that meet strict standards are approved Consideration given to prohibiting skip firing. …and multiple projectiles. Point of aim / impact - waist / belt-buckle. Aiming higher, or at less than minimum safe firing distance, restricted to immediate threat to life.

14 Batons:

15 15 Guidelines for use: Kinetic Impact. Batons: Clear instruction on avoiding most vulnerable parts of body Circumstances under which potentially lethal blows can be delivered should be made explicit. Should not be used on an individual who is under control Regular training particularly important with side-handled

16 Restraints:

17 17 Guidelines for use: Restraints. Plastic handcuffs: Often used for mass arrests. Risk of injury / nerve damage. Over-tightening, loosening Recommendations. Only specially designed plastic handcuffs should be used,. Width and other design features based on medical evidence. Replaced at the earliest opportunity. Subject should be checked regularly.

18 Electro-shock technologies: Incapacitate Imminent risk of death / serious injury Risk of stampedes Uninvolved individuals Medical assistance

19 Electro-shock technologies: Don’t incapacitate Not as effective Tactical disadvantage Officers at risk Risk of abuse

20 20 Evaluation. Article 3 of the BPUFF states that the “development and deployment” of non-lethal incapacitating equipment should be “carefully evaluated”. Such a system should involve: Reporting all incidents of use for the first year Selected areas to conduct longitudinal studies Assessment of adherence to guidelines. Spot-checks to ensure manufacturing quality.

21 Points for consultation. Threshold for use of rubber bullets Multiple projectiles Riot control agents. Reporting requirements; Email me at:

22 Selected references and photo credits: Applied Research Laboratory; Pennsylvania State University; Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (2001) The Attribute-based Evaluation of less-than-lethal, extended range, impact munitions. Granville-Chapman, C; Smith, E; Moloney, N (2005) Excessive force during removal of immigration detainees in Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine issue 12. Home Office Scientific Development Branch (2008) Less lethal Technologies: Review of commercially available and Near-Market Products for the Association of Chief Police Officers. Perez-Sales et al (2010) Transitory ischemia as a form of torture: a case description of Spain. Torture volume 20, number 2. Photos: Robin Ballantyne / The Omega Research Foundation, or company copyright. For more information, see our website

23 Questions?

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