St Luke’s hosts training

2016-03-08 11:13

The City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement officers have been empowered with more skills to keep the peace.
Recently, members underwent specialist conflict resolution training in the St Luke’s Catholic Church hall in Kensington.

Wayne Dyason, spokesperson of Law Enforcement, explained that the aim of the training was to equip officers with the skills to deal with crowds in conflict situations by minimising or preventing violence.
“They focused on dealing with conflict in hostile and land invasion situations,” he said. “The training also equipped members with conceptual tools in the field of conflict transformation, with specific focus on theories and practical application of dealing with conflict in a humane manner, thereby helping to prevent or minimise violence.
“They were also trained on addressing the psychology of crowds and crowd behaviour.”

Prof Brian Williams, who facilitated the training, pointed out that the training related to them responding to land invasions, where extra care is needed to calm tensions.
“People must realise that the unit had a constitutional duty to protect public and community-owned land from being unlawfully taken by individuals,” he said.
“The very nature of this harsh but necessary obligation usually involves the demolition of dwelling places of those who have acted in breach of the law.
“In all cases, it is typically the poor and the most vulnerable who end up being evicted. This is a global problem with no easy solutions.
“The human tragedies associated with this form of law enforcement work is traumatising to the persons evicted as well as the law enforcement officers on the frontline.
“In most cases, when law enforcement moves in to effect an eviction, they are met with violence and anger. This is understandable as people who end up without a dwelling place or whose meagre possessions get damaged or destroyed are not in a mood to be rational. Typically, children are negatively affected by the trauma of such engagements.”

Williams added that the training involved a range of concepts that recognised the relationship between constitutional rights and the need to enforce the rule of law.
“The essence of their work is traumatising and it is difficult to separate their emotions from the nature of their work.
“The training was an important introduction to the field of peace studies and the different forms of conflict resolution, its management and transformation.
“Usually when there is a crisis that requires evictions, the automatic public sympathy is with those who are evicted. Law enforcement officers work a thin line and are the first ones to get condemned when things go wrong.
“The training also dealt with the constitutional obligations to carry out instructions that are lawful. Law enforcement officers whose work involves conflict must understand the concepts and the nature of the field that they operate in.”

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