Police ignore crowd management training

2012-08-29 09:10

Johannesburg - Training police officers on how to deal with crowds or for public order policing has been neglected since 1994, it was reported on Wednesday.

National police commissioner General Riah Phiyega told Parliament's police committee on Tuesday that crowd control training had "not been a priority" after 1994 as the country had become "pretty stable", the Star reported.

"It is only in the wake of the new protests that crowd management training is once more coming to the fore," briefing documents handed to the committee explained.

Thirty-four people died and 78 were wounded when police opened fire on protesting mineworkers in Marikana, North West on August 16.

Ten people, including two policemen and two security guards, were killed in the preceding week.

  • annelise.venter.77 - 2012-08-29 09:16

    Seems to me the crowd (population) is somewhat unhappy!

      sheda.habib - 2012-08-29 09:33

      We were told that MILLIONS was spent on training police for crowd control for the SOCCER WORLD CUP. What happened to that money if they were not trained?????????????????

      jonathancfarrell - 2012-08-29 09:36

      Shebeen bar tabs Sheda.habib :)

      ray.priestley.79 - 2012-08-29 09:51

      I spoke to a Scottish policeman about how they dispersed protesting crowds.He said it is very easy-they just send someone out with a collection tin.

      richard.townleyjohnson - 2012-08-29 10:04

      Important to remember that this came from news24... It may or may not be true.

      klippies.coke.7 - 2012-08-29 10:07

      Well, they handled the Marikana crowd correctly. How else do you handle a crowd who believes they are invulnerable and attack you with pangas, knives, etc. Well, you defend yourself, just like they did. As for protesters in general. Don't wait for them to throw rocks, water cannon the hell out of them, and if that does not work, rubber bullets. Don't let them get away with violence and murder.

      klippies.coke.7 - 2012-08-29 10:07

      lol @ Ray

      atholl.canterbury - 2012-08-29 10:18

      A person such as a Police Minister or Police Commissioner should know that : ... due to their solid career experience in arriving at their position ... the most effective way to control a crowd is tear gas. tear gas is one of the procedures when applying 'minimum force'. live ammunition is 'maximum force'. .... oops I forgot ... 'solid career experience' is not a pre-requisite to become a Minister or Commissioner.

      kaykay.son.50 - 2012-08-29 10:19

      @Sheda.habib Your question is antirevolutionary and against success of a black man!!! LoL! What a million Dollar question. The world wouldn't like to read this, suggesting they were coerced to come to South Africa with guarantee of safety and security only to reveal now that the local police had no idea on what to do in case of mass protest! Wow!

      fussed.anderson - 2012-08-29 10:25

      Not only have the police not had training, but everyone in gov positions aswell

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-08-29 10:33

      Can't believe the amount of ignorant comments once again, from all the 'know it alls'. I'll try and help: Try to understand the difference between 'crowd control' and repelling an attack by roughly 3000 people armed with lethal weapons. See the difference? Tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets (stoppers) etc are the tools for crowd control - non lethal weapons. Firearms are used to protect yourself from death or serious injury. The police had to repel an attack by 3000 people armed with lethal weapons (including firearms) to prevent death and/or serious injury to themselves . Remember this - the crowd had already murdered, showing they were prepared to kill for their cause; they had taken/applied muti in order to be 'bullet proof', again showing their intent to attack and the knowledge that they will probably face live rounds as a result; they were armed with weapons that can kill - not rubber pangas and plastic knives. Try and consider facts for a change, and if you have never faced a crowd of 3000 people armed to the teeth, knowing their intent because it had has already been clearly proven, then rather keep quiet.

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-08-29 15:14

      @ Leonard - no argument with that. I have no idea of what the current training standards are, and I agree 100% with lack of competent leadership. Of course this is now wide spread throughout just about every government department, not just the SAPS.

  • raath - 2012-08-29 09:17

    Since 1994. Coincidence?

      jonathancfarrell - 2012-08-29 09:27

      A lot more has been neglected since 1994!

      erich.goosen - 2012-08-29 09:50

      At least one acknowledgement of failure beginning in the new (golden?) era.

      Johannes - 2012-08-29 09:53

      I don't understand why they (the media) fail to make mention, almost every single time, about the police officers that where set on fire and burnt alive just days before! I tell you what. If I were a policeman and these so called people had just set my friends/colleagues on fire... Not saying I would have done the same thing in their situation but when a mob starts rushing and throwing things, AGAIN, what do you do? Fight or flight.

      bob.mcmillen.564 - 2012-08-29 10:11

      raath, yes it's strange, that date keeps coming up especially when referring to lack of service, corruption etc etc, what is it with that date.

      kaykay.son.50 - 2012-08-29 10:24

      @Johannes Stop mentioning the killed police, you adding salt to the wound. I hate to say it but Phiyga's statement above says it all. Details of how those two police were killed are hard to come by, but it is said elsewhere that they requested the protesters to give them weapons (disarm so to say) and the protesters told them to come to the mountain to get them (weapons) and the two police follwed up there. Exactly what Phiyega is saying, the guys had no idea on how to handle the situation and hence believed that if they go to the mountain (i.e. if what I read story is true) they will come back with their hands full of Pangas, knopkieries, okapi, Sabula, and guns handed over to two of them by the protesters. I feel for their (two police) families and for the entire police force in general, it was not meant to be and should not have happened.

      kgolane.thulare - 2012-08-29 11:09

      @erich - yep you quite right about the failure of the apartheid...

  • johan.vanheerden.737 - 2012-08-29 09:22

    So in all the previous incidents of strikes/civil unrest/ Shooting of Andries Tatiyane in Ficksburg it was never clear that the police has not had training?

  • kgolane.thulare - 2012-08-29 09:22

    ....Well the Police werent too good at Crowd control prior 1994...ask Hector Pieterson's family...

      raath - 2012-08-29 09:27

      Would the police have acted like that if the crowd controlled themselves?

      kgolane.thulare - 2012-08-29 10:00

      Dude you clearly know very little about your country's history, South Africa is Internationally recognised for police shooting non violent protestors in the back. Take a few minutes and google 'Apartheid South Africa'... - 2012-08-29 10:12

      LOL - "non-violent protestors" in the SA'can context is a prime example of an oximoron...Im sure Saint Hector threw his fair share of rocks - fact that he was front and centre speaks volumes of his lack of innocence in this regard.

      raath - 2012-08-29 10:14

      and now the violent protesters are shooting police officers in the face

      BigChiefPlumbPudding - 2012-08-29 10:22

      Non violent - what a laugh. It's precisely because our protests are so damn violent that shooting is a common occurrence.

      bomb.technician.5 - 2012-08-29 10:38

      Take a few minutes and google the following on South Africa...."Violent Farm Murders"....and...."Necklace Executions"....and....."Muti Murders"....and....."Violent Protests"...and "Police being killed".....and "Corrective Rape"......and..."Xenophobia"....and "Stock Theft".....and "CIT Robberies"....."Hijackings"....and......should I go on?...SA has become a haven for crime and violent behaviour......the police should Shoot to Kill.

      kgolane.thulare - 2012-08-29 11:10

      @raath ...the police were not shot during the protest, they were shot the day before, which is what lead the police to return to Marikana the next day....Get ur facts straight @vicker... Marikana , Soweto, Sharpville... protestors were shot in the back Get ur facts straight @bomb ... LOL ...we are discussing 'POLICE CROWD CONTROL', is see you talking bout 'corrective rape','xenophobia' ,'hijacking',etc ... so when you join the this dicussion maybe i can reply to you...

      raath - 2012-08-29 11:24

      I wasn't only referring to the Marikana incident....

      burningdogz - 2012-08-29 11:46

      Kgolane I fear you 'facts' are wildly distorted. 1st of, the police weren't just attacked on the day prior to the Marikana massacre, video footage by Al Jazeera that was posted on this very News 24 site showed quite clearly how protestors opened fire with handguns at police during the storm when the group was gunned down. Secondly, it is a fact that prior '94 most of the incidences of murder and violence were committed by protestors themselves through necklacings etc. Thirdly and most important, nothing was exactly as it was portrayed by the then media, especially international media. Take Sharpeville as an example: Hundreds of innocent unarmed protestors gunned down by evil police when protestors surrounded their station right? Well, when you take into account that a few weeks before that the 'innocent unarmed protestors' surrounded a police station, charged in and slaughtered all the cops inside...suddenly the actions of the police then seems a bit more justifiable then the media tries to make out...

      william.letsong.5 - 2012-08-29 11:56

      Mr Facts, yeah you kgolane.thulare, go sleep geez.

      kgolane.thulare - 2012-08-29 15:43

      @burningdogz - i just had a good laugh over this fact here , thank you...."prior '94 most of the incidences of murder and violence were committed by protestors themselves through necklacings etc." ...i didnt read the rest of your comment after that... @william Sir made my day also with this profund reply ..."Mr Facts, yeah you kgolane.thulare, go sleep geez." ...u must be a writer...

  • kwbateman - 2012-08-29 09:25

    So let me understand this clearly: We have stable crowds so we do not train! Does this mean we have a stable nuclear reactor we do not take precautions? Does this mean we have no war threat so we do not train soldiers? My understanding of the concept of a police service, paramedic service, any reactionary service for that matter is that on going training is essential to ensure that when the need arises you are able to deal with the problem - hence fire drills and so on at shopping centres and buildings.

      raath - 2012-08-29 09:29

      It is because the people who used to be the uncontrollable crowds are now in charge, so they didn't think that any other crowd after them would be uncontrollable.

      fussed.anderson - 2012-08-29 09:29

      And we have no wars to go to, so why did sa purchase all the arms for?

      raath - 2012-08-29 09:31

      For the kickbacks and bribes from the arms suppliers

  • gvangreunen - 2012-08-29 09:28

    Because in 1994 the crowds became the rulers and they thought they'd rule happily ever after ...

  • shelley.vorster.9 - 2012-08-29 09:31

    Yawn - I am not shocked and or surprised at this. Since 1994 huh???? Speaks for itself, this country started its downward spiral back then already.

      jpstrauss - 2012-08-29 09:53

      actually it was 1992, but that's just splitting hairs.

      bomb.technician.5 - 2012-08-29 10:48

      The country has been in a constant downward spiral since 1994.....the biggest indicator of this is the fact that we import more food than we export, which was the other way around pre-1994, the electricity crisis and pending water crisis, the high violent crime rate, the high infant mortality rate, the low level of education and literacy, the poor level of basic service provision, the pathetic state of the military, the deplorable rate of medical care, the high levels of corruption, the destruction of infrastructure, the financial position of state entities, the ignorance of civil servants, the imbalance of taxpayers vs welfare receivers, the lack of respect for life, the ignorance of government, ......the poor training of police.

  • apansari2325 - 2012-08-29 09:34

    Everything is ignored in SA since 1994 apart from corruption and race politics

  • eyesears.handsfeet - 2012-08-29 09:50

    Somebody is again lying somewhere. Oh! the constant BS! Shame the poor ministers has been changed so many times since 94 that they are so mentally messed up as to the previous ministers bs + the new that must be sorted out. They can hardly cope themselves. Can't blame them really. They are now doctors and professors(did they REALLY study for it) and (what a joke) the younger generation think that they can do it better! HA! The youngsters hav a whole lot to learn. And an even bigger Joke - The ministers and youngsters want advise (using consultants most of the time) but they only hear what they want to hear. Poor sods.

  • madri.spoelstra - 2012-08-29 09:57

    My husband did some of those training (up to 1994), and if it was not for an e-mail to the Head office of the SAPS,stating the NEED, this article would not even have appeared

  • keith.recore - 2012-08-29 09:59

    Training is extremely important. Just as important is to get to the root causes of the multitude of protests and eradicate the angst/anger of so many citizens. When this is done, police, communities will have a much easier time with crowds, protests (lack of) and then resources can once again be diverted to crime fighting instead of crowd fighting. There doesn't seem to be any sense of urgency of why so many protests.

  • klaas.waarzegger.7 - 2012-08-29 09:59

    "More stable now" My arse, service delivery protests have been going on for years now. Rome is burning!

  • steveroodt - 2012-08-29 09:59

    mmmmmmmmm I stated this two weeks ago

  • dnxumalo2 - 2012-08-29 10:01

    hehehehe but 'police have always tried everything' to control crowds in this so called 'stable country' after you trained them to shoot to kill 'at stable crowds' instead of using professional methods to control much force for a stable situation.Why cant you just get off your limping high horse and admit that you fail the police and the result was an appauling list of violent occurences between police and citizens.we blamed police while you were the ones in the wrong all this time.Tell you suck!

  • buti.Bambo - 2012-08-29 10:04

    Exactly my point.

  • Kirsten Jeanette Olivier - 2012-08-29 10:07

    oh my! the comments are better than the news reports at time!very true most of the comments here ....

  • stefan.kruger.1297 - 2012-08-29 10:10

    And Ladies and Gentlemen... that's only ONE part of the 7000 parts that they IGNORE.... The only lesson that they teach at the Police Academy in South Africa is Corruption 101....May All Government and Political structures be burned down by the people it enslaves!!

  • lmapheto - 2012-08-29 10:24

    Someone should have thrown a shoe at her...not as an act of violence but pure disgust...

  • kaykay.son.50 - 2012-08-29 10:34

    So actually what is being taught at the police academy? If crowd or mass violence is not part of the training, then this country is heaven moos. No need for policing at all. Are we hearing here that there is no training on how to contain violent behavior? I thought western countries with oldest democracies do have crowd control mechanisms in place and is rehearsed all the time. European countries do handle the situations well from time to time. Not to mention the UK where police are not allowed to carry guns but a special task team that get called on special occasions do. How many other things were ignored or introduced since 1994 (National commissioner)? I bet if that part of training was removed from the process, then something else was introduced. Unless you tell us what that is, we will assume that it was replaced by Corruption 101 indeed! The latter is because it seem to be prevailing not among the police on the ground, but the the commissioners themselves!

  • phumi.ntlabati - 2012-08-29 10:40

    Gen Cele was training our police and there is ample evidance of that! What this social worker is talking about is hot air, and is just trying to save her skin from that reckless remark she made!!

      raath - 2012-08-29 11:28

      The only evidence we have shows that Bheki Cele was relieved of this post due to corruption, just like his predecessor, Jackie Selebi. So far: Corruption: 2, Police training: 0.

      william.letsong.5 - 2012-08-29 12:04

      Raath don't post sh...

      raath - 2012-08-29 12:07

      Can't deal with the facts, William? Denial much?

  • tha.trol - 2012-08-29 18:13

    Crowd Management Training was implemented prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This woman's statements yet again points out that she has no clue as to what she is supposed to be doing within the SAPS. It's called RESEARCH Riah. Try it sometime. Instead of making these statements to evade the flames slowly igniting from under you, rather start paying SAPS members more. Over viewing Danger Allowance - is going out into the cold every night facing criminals that could potentially be armed with an arsenal of lethal weapons the same as having a cup of tea with the Queen? The lives of the cops are worth R400 (danger allowance) and the flags hang half mast for civilians who wants a pay increase, attacks police with weapons and dies in the process. As for everyone rooting in favour of the miners, being against SAPS as a whole, those people were told by a Sangoma that they are invisible now. What was it exactly the SAPS were supposed to do? Call Batman and the Avengers so that the top secret Protective Force Field could be activated keeping out an angry attacking mob armed with dangerous weapons including firearms? If you know a corrupt member, don't label the rest. Some of them are actually out there doing their best to serve you. Yet society will always mass classify instead of targeting incidents at sole discretion.

  • mmoledis - 2012-10-17 09:17

    That is true , as a qualified trained as police, yes police do not practice what they have been tought at training and as such we have police department being sued for carelessnes of the police actions and too them losing their lifes. If officer while on duty can do what they have been taught then our police force will be the best, and from experience I had, let the colleges of training be beefed up with qualified trainers who knows how to conduct education and training and not just make students pass for the sake of passing.

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