Riot control

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Rank of Icelandic National Police officers in full riot gear during the 2008 Icelandic lorry driver protests. Motmaeli vorubilstjora 1.jpg
Rank of Icelandic National Police officers in full riot gear during the 2008 Icelandic lorry driver protests.
Indonesian Mobile Brigade Corps riot control personnel and equipment Mobile Brigade officers and equipment.jpg
Indonesian Mobile Brigade Corps riot control personnel and equipment

Riot control refers to the measures used by police, military, or other security forces to control, disperse, and arrest people who are involved in a riot, demonstration, or protest. If a riot is spontaneous and irrational, actions which cause people to stop and think for a moment (e.g. loud noises or issuing instructions in a calm tone) can be enough to stop it. However, these methods usually fail when there is severe anger with a legitimate cause, or the riot was planned or organized. Law enforcement officers or military personnel have long used less lethal weapons such as batons and whips to disperse crowds and detain rioters. Since the 1980s, riot control officers have also used tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and electric tasers. In some cases, riot squads may also use Long Range Acoustic Devices, water cannons, armoured fighting vehicles, aerial surveillance, police dogs or mounted police on horses. Officers performing riot control typically wear protective equipment such as riot helmets, face visors, body armor (vests, neck protectors, knee pads, etc.), gas masks and riot shields. However, there are also cases where lethal weapons are used to violently suppress a protest or riot, as in the Boston Massacre, Haymarket Massacre, Banana Massacre, Hungarian Revolution of 1956, Kent State Massacre, Soweto Uprising, Mendiola Massacre, Bloody Sunday (1905) , Ponce massacre, Bloody Sunday (1972), Venezuelan Protest (2017), Tuticorin Massacre (2018).

Police Law enforcement body

The police are a constituted body of persons empowered by a state to enforce the law, to protect the lives, liberty and possessions of citizens, and to prevent crime and civil disorder. Their powers include the power of arrest and the legitimized use of force. The term is most commonly associated with the police forces of a sovereign state that are authorized to exercise the police power of that state within a defined legal or territorial area of responsibility. Police forces are often defined as being separate from the military and other organizations involved in the defense of the state against foreign aggressors; however, gendarmerie are military units charged with civil policing. Police forces are usually public sector services, funded through taxes.

Military Organization primarily tasked with preparing for and conducting war

A military is a heavily-armed, highly-organised force primarily intended for warfare, also known collectively as armed forces. It is typically officially authorized and maintained by a sovereign state, with its members identifiable by their distinct military uniform. It may consist of one or more military branches such as an Army, Navy, Air Force and in certain countries, Marines and Coast Guard. The main task of the military is usually defined as defence of the state and its interests against external armed threats. Beyond warfare, the military may be employed in additional sanctioned and non-sanctioned functions within the state, including internal security threats, population control, the promotion of a political agenda, emergency services and reconstruction, protecting corporate economic interests, social ceremonies and national honor guards.

Social control concept within the disciplines of the social sciences and within political science

Social control is a concept within the disciplines of the social sciences.



GRM horse platoon and rioteers Paris - Place de la Concorde - 1934 Place de la Concorde 7 fevrier 1934.jpg
GRM horse platoon and rioteers Paris - Place de la Concorde - 1934

Maintaining order during demonstrations and quenching riots has always been a challenge for governments and administrations. Until early in the 20th century, no dedicated force really existed in most countries and the traditionnal response when the regular police force proved inadequate was to call upon the army, often with disastrous results : either fraternization or use of excessive violence.

In France, for example, several revolts were fueled by poor handling by the military. The National Gendarmerie created specialized "mobile" gendarmerie forces several times during the 19th century in times of trouble but these units were disbanded soon after the end of the troubles they had been tasked to handle and there was no permanent organization in place until it was finally decided in 1921 to create "Mobile Gendarmerie platoons" within the Departmental Gendarmerie. These platoons, either horse mounted or on foot were composed of 40 gendarmes each (60 in the Paris Region). In 1926, the platoons formed the "Garde Républicaine mobile" (mobile republican guard or GRM), which became a distinct branch of the Gendarmerie in 1927, the platoons becoming part of companies and legions. By 1940, the GRM was a force 21.000 strong, composed of 14 Légions, 54 company groups and 167 companies. [1] .

National Gendarmerie gendarmerie branch of the French Armed Forces

The National Gendarmerie is one of two national police forces of France, along with the National Police. It is a branch of the French Armed Forces placed under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Interior—with additional duties to the Ministry of Defense. Its area of responsibility includes smaller towns, rural and suburban areas, while the Police Nationale—a civilian force—is in charge of cities and downtowns. Due to its military status, the Gendarmerie also fulfills a range of military and defense missions. The Gendarmes also have a cybercrime division. It has a strength of more than 100,000 personnel as of 2014.

Departmental Gendarmerie

The Departmental Gendarmerie is the territorial police branch of the French National Gendarmerie. The Departmental Gendarmerie has regular contact with the population and conducts local policing functions throughout the French territory.

Long the only large force specialized in maintaining or restoring law and order in France during demonstrations or riots, the GRM progressively developed the doctrine and skills needed in that role : exercise restraint, avoid confrontation as long as possible, always leave an "exit door" for the crowd etc. [2] . In 1940, after the fall of France, the German authorities had the GRM disbanded but it was reinstated in 1944 and renamed Mobile Gendarmerie in 1954 . [3] .

Mobile Gendarmerie

The Mobile Gendarmerie (GM) is a subdivision of the French National Gendarmerie whose main mission is to maintain public order and general security. Contrary to the Departmental Gendarmerie, whose jurisdiction is limited to specific parts of the territory, the Mobile Gendarmerie can operate anywhere in France and even abroad as the Gendarmerie is a component of the French Armed Forces. Although the term "mobile" has been used at different times in the 19th century, the modern Mobile Gendarmerie was created in 1921.

The centre of the International Settlement of Shanghai, 1928. Shanghai 1928 Bund Cenotaph.jpeg
The centre of the International Settlement of Shanghai, 1928.

The first squad trained in modern techniques of riot control in Asia was formed in 1925 in colonial Shanghai as a response to the mismanaged riot of the May Thirtieth Movement.

Shanghai International Settlement

The Shanghai International Settlement originated from the 1863 merger of the British and American enclaves in Shanghai, in which parts of the Qing Empire would hold extraterritorially under the terms of a series of Unequal Treaties until 1941.

May Thirtieth Movement

The May Thirtieth Movement was a major labor and anti-imperialist movement during the middle-period of the Republic of China era. It began when the British Shanghai Municipal Police opened fire on Chinese protesters in Shanghai's International Settlement on May 30, 1925. The shootings sparked international censure and nationwide anti-foreign demonstrations and riots.

New policing methods, including combat pistol shooting, hand to hand combat skills, and knife fight training, were pioneered by British Assistant Commissioner William E. Fairbairn and officer Eric Anthony Sykes of the Shanghai Municipal Police as a response to a staggering rise in armed crime in the 1920s - Shanghai had become one of the world's most dangerous cities due to a breakdown in law and order in the country and the growth of organised crime and the opium trade.

Combat pistol shooting is a modern martial art that focuses on the use of the handgun as a defensive weapon for self defense, or for military and police use. Like most martial arts, combat pistol shooting is practiced both for defense and for sport.

Knife fight

A knife fight is a violent physical confrontation between two or more combatants in which one or more participants is armed with a knife. A knife fight is defined by the presence of a knife as a weapon and the violent intent of the combatants to kill or incapacitate each other; the participants may be completely untrained, self-taught, or trained in one or more formal or informal systems of knife fighting. Knife fights may involve the use of any type of knife, though certain knives, termed fighting knives, are purposely designed for such confrontations – the dagger being just one example.

William Ewart Fairbairn was a British Royal Marine and police officer. He developed hand-to-hand combat methods for the Shanghai Police during the interwar period, as well as for the allied special forces during World War II. He created his own fighting system known as Defendu. Notably, this included innovative pistol shooting techniques and the development of the Fairbairn-Sykes Fighting Knife.

Under Fairbairn, the SMP developed a myriad of riot control measures. These riot control techniques led to the introduction of Shanghai's "Reserve Unit" - the first modern SWAT team. As a reserve unit, it was used to forcibly disband riots as well as to respond to high-level criminality like kidnappings and armed robberies. [4]

SWAT A law enforcement unit which uses specialized or military equipment and tactics

In the United States, a SWAT team is a law enforcement unit which uses specialized or military equipment and tactics. First created in the 1960s to handle riot control or violent confrontations with criminals, the number and usage of SWAT teams increased in the 1980s and 1990s during the War on Drugs and later in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. In the United States as of 2005, SWAT teams were deployed 50,000 times every year, almost 80% of the time to serve search warrants, most often for narcotics. SWAT teams are increasingly equipped with military-type hardware and trained to deploy against threats of terrorism, for crowd control, hostage taking, and in situations beyond the capabilities of ordinary law enforcement, sometimes deemed "high-risk". Other countries have developed their own paramilitary police units (PPUs) which are also described as or comparable to SWAT forces.

Kidnapping taking away or transportation of a person against that persons will

In criminal law, kidnapping is the unlawful carrying away (asportation) and confinement of a person against their will. Thus, it is a composite crime. It can also be defined as false imprisonment by means of abduction, both of which are separate crimes that when committed simultaneously upon the same person merge as the single crime of kidnapping. The asportation/abduction element is typically but not necessarily conducted by means of force or fear. That is, the perpetrator may use a weapon to force the victim into a vehicle, but it is still kidnapping if the victim is enticed to enter the vehicle willingly, e.g., in the belief it is a taxicab.

The skills developed in Shanghai have been adopted and adapted by both international police forces and clandestine warfare units. William Fairbairn was again the central figure, not only leading the Reserve Unit, but teaching his methods around the world, including in the United States, and the colonial regimes of Cyprus and Singapore.


Colombian Police armored riot control vehicle with water cannon ISBI Tanqueta.jpg
Colombian Police armored riot control vehicle with water cannon ISBI
Polish riot police squad in the 1930s, with opaque riot shields and no helmet visors, as polycarbonate had not been invented yet Polish State Police (Policja Panstwowa) before 1939.JPG
Polish riot police squad in the 1930s, with opaque riot shields and no helmet visors, as polycarbonate had not been invented yet

For protection, officers performing riot control will often wear protective helmets and carry riot shields. These are designed to protect the wearer from those dangers that come from direct melee and hurled objects such as bottles and bricks. The gear frequently worn by riot control officers protects the entire body with no vulnerable spots to exploit. For example, the helmets worn by riot control officers have an additional outward-extending part that protects the back of the neck from assault. To provide even greater protection, the protective equipment often provides ballistic protection. If tear gas or other riot control agents are to be used, gas masks may also be worn.

One of many additional concerns is to prevent people in the crowd from snatching officers' side arms, which may be stolen or even used against the police. In a very heavy crowd, the officer may not be able to see who is responsible for snatching a weapon, and may not even notice that it has happened. For this reason, riot police may have holsters with positive locking mechanisms or other extra means of retention, if their agencies can afford such tools. However, this can be a trade-off that increases the amount of time needed to draw the sidearm in an emergency. Alternately, riot police may not carry sidearms at all.

The initial choice of tactics determines the type of offensive equipment used. The base choice is between lethal (e.g. 12 gauge shotgun) and less-than-lethal weaponry (e.g. tear gas, pepper spray, plastic bullets, tasers, batons, and other incapacitants). The decision is based on the perceived level of threat and the existing laws; in many countries it is illegal to use lethal force to control riots in all but the most extreme circumstances.

Special riot hand weapons include the wooden or rubber baton; the African sjambok, a heavy leather or plastic whip, and the Indian lathi, a 6 to 8-foot (2.4 m) long cane with a blunt metal tip. Vehicle-mounted water cannons may serve to augment personal weapons. Some water cannons let police add dye to mark rioters or tear gas to help disperse the crowds.

In major unrest, police in armoured vehicles may be sent in following an initial subduing with firepower. Occasionally, police dogs, fire hoses, or mounted police are deployed.

Riot control agent (RCA)

Riot control agents (sometimes called RCAs) are non-lethal lachrymatory agents used for riot control. Most commonly used riot control agents are pepper spray and various kinds of tear gas. These chemicals disperse a crowd that could be protesting or rioting, or to clear a building. They can rapidly produce sensory irritation or disabling physical effects which usually disappear within 15 minutes (for tear gas) and up to 2 hours (for pepper spray) following termination of exposure. They can also be used for chemical warfare defense training, although their use in warfare itself is a violation of Article I.5 of the Chemical Weapons Convention. Article II.9 of the CWC specifically authorizes their use for civilian law enforcement. [5]

Pepper spray

Heavily protected policeman of a German SEK in riot gear with Tac700 Pepperball Launcher. Polizist Pepperball Dresden.jpg
Heavily protected policeman of a German SEK in riot gear with Tac700 Pepperball Launcher.

The active ingredient in pepper-spray is capsaicin, which is a chemical derived from the fruit of plants in the Capsicum genus, including chilies. A synthetic analogue of capsaicin, pelargonic acid vanillylamide (desmethyldihydrocapsaicin), is used in another version of pepper spray known as PAVA spray which is used in the United Kingdom. Another synthetic counterpart of pepper spray, pelargonic acid morpholide, was developed and is widely used in Russia. Its effectiveness compared to natural pepper spray is uncertain and it reportedly has caused some injuries. When undesirables threaten an area, such as a riot after a soccer game, riot police are called in to subdue them. In these situations, the police may use pepper spray, or water cannons to neutralize the threat.

These gendarmes mobiles are ready for riot control; they carry gas masks and one has a grenade launcher for sending tear gas canisters Gendarmes mobiles p1200789.jpg
These gendarmes mobiles are ready for riot control; they carry gas masks and one has a grenade launcher for sending tear gas canisters

Pepper spray typically comes in canisters, which are often small enough to be carried or concealed in a pocket or purse. Pepper spray can also be bought concealed in items such as rings. There are also pepper spray projectiles available, which can be fired from a paintball gun. Having been used for years against demonstrators, it is increasingly being used by police in routine interventions.

Tear gas

Tear gas is a non-specific term for any chemical that is used to temporarily incapacitate through irritation of eyes and/or respiratory system. It is used as a hand-held spray or can be fired in canisters that heat up spewing out an aerosol cloud at a steady rate. [6] [7]

Whilst the use of tear gas in warfare is prohibited by various international treaties [NB 1] that most states have signed, police and private self-defense use is not banned in the same manner.

Popular tear gases include the eye irritants ortho-chlorobenzylidene-malononitrile (CS gas), chloroacetophenone (CN gas), and dibenz (b,f)-1,4-oxazepine (CR gas). Among a long list of substances, these three have become of greater importance than the others because of their effectiveness and low risks when used. Today, CS has largely replaced CN as the most widely used tear gas internationally. [ citation needed ]


At room temperature, tear gases are white solids. They are stable when heated and have low vapor pressure. Consequently, they are usually dispersed as aerosols. All of them have low solubility in water but can be dissolved in several organic solvents. Hydrolysis of CN is very slow in a water solution, especially if alkali is added. CS is rapidly hydrolyzed in water solution (half-life at pH 7 is about 15 min. at room temperature) and extremely rapid when alkali is added (half-life at pH 9 is about 1 min.). CR is hydrolyzed only to a negligible extent in water solution.

CN and CR are, thus, difficult to decompose under practical conditions, whereas CS can easily be inactivated by means of a water solution. Skin is suitably decontaminated of CS and CN gas by thorough washing with soap and water. CS is then decomposed, whereas CN is only removed via soap and water. The effects of CR gas are greatly increased by water, causing any attempt to DECON CR via soap and water to increase the severity and duration of the effects. When decontamination of CR is attempted with soap and water the effects of CR can last up to 48 hours

Decontamination of material after contamination with CR gas is not possible for up to 45 days. CS can be decontaminated l with a 5–10 percent soda solution or 2 percent alkaline solution. If this type of decontamination cannot be accomplished (e.g., contaminated rooms and furniture), then the only other means is by intensive air exchange—preferably with hot air. Exposed streets and sidewalks will have toxic[ citation needed ] and irritating CS powder that will be stirred into the air by traffic and pedestrians long after the cloud has dissipated, and should be washed away with water. In contrast to human beings, domesticated animals generally have lower sensitivity to tear gases. Dogs and horses can therefore be used by police for riot control even when tear gas is used.[ citation needed ]

Dispensing large quantities

Backpack dispensers for riot control agents, when the intent is to use a larger quantity than possible with grenades, are one type of device used by organizations that might, for example, need to cover a prison yard [8] Dispensers are also made for attachment to helicopters; see CBU-19. [9]


Mounted riot police as crowd control during protests in Edinburgh EdinburghProtests3.jpg
Mounted riot police as crowd control during protests in Edinburgh

The front-line officers in a riot control are often fully armored and carry weapons such as batons, designed to be in direct contact with the crowd. These officers subdue rioters and subsequently allow the less heavily armoured, more mobile officers to make arrests where it is deemed necessary. In face of a greater threat, the riot police will be backed up with other officers equipped with riot guns to fire tear gas, rubber bullets, plastic bullets or "beanbag" rounds.

As a less aggressive step, mounted police may first be sent into the crowd. The might and height offered by the horse are combined with its training, allowing an officer to more safely infiltrate a crowd. Usually, when front-facing a riot, officers slowly walk in a line parallel to the riot's front, extending to both its ends, as they noisily and simultaneously march and beat their shields with their batons, to cause fear and psychological effects on the crowd.

German police deploy an armoured riot control vehicle at a demonstration in Hamburg. ASEM-Demonstration Hamburg 006.jpg
German police deploy an armoured riot control vehicle at a demonstration in Hamburg.

Since the advent of artillery, straight roads have been of notable importance in city defense and control. Upon coming to power, Napoleon III built great avenues, referred to as anti-riot streets, into the troublesome quarters of Paris. [10] The wide straight roads also allowed for cavalry charges to subdue rioters.

In the United Kingdom, usually when large demonstrations take place that are deemed unstable, the territorial police force responsible for the demonstration in that area will usually deploy Police Support Unit personnel who are trained in riot tactics, along with normal divisional officers. If the demonstration turns violent, police will seal roads and other exits to contain protesters in a single area (known as kettling) to prevent widespread damage and wait until the protesters tire. These tactics were seen during the 2009 G-20 London summit protests and the 2010 student protests in London. Tear gas and other more offensive tactics are used as a last resort. Throughout police will be videoing or photographing protesters for future arrests, "snatch squad" tactics might also be used where several police officers, usually in protective riot gear, rush forwards, occasionally in flying wedge formation to break through the front of a crowd, with the objective of snatching one or more individuals from a riot that are attempting to control the demonstration at which they are present. The target may be a leader or a speaker, or someone who seems to be leading the crowd. This tactic was used in the 2011 England Riots, most notably by Greater Manchester Police who deployed this tactic in Manchester city centre on 9 August 2011. [11]

A more straightforward tactic police may use is a baton charge which involves police officers charging at a crowd of people with batons and in some cases, riot shields. They run at the crowd hitting people with their batons, and in some situations use riotshields to push them away. Baton charging is designed to cause the maximum amount of pain, in the hope that they would be compelled to move away from the scene, dispersing the crowd.


A New York City Police Department officer stands ready with a sonic weapon, the LRAD 500X Long Range Acoustic Device 500X in New York City.jpg
A New York City Police Department officer stands ready with a sonic weapon, the LRAD 500X

Research into weapons that are more effective for riot control continues. Netguns are non-lethal weapons designed to fire a net which entangles the target. Netguns have a long history of being used to capture wildlife, without injury, for research purposes. A netgun is currently in development for non-lethal riot control. Pepper-spray projectile launchers are projectile weapons that launch a fragile ball which breaks upon impact and releases an irritant powder called PAVA (capsaicin II) pepper. The launchers are often slightly modified .68 caliber paintball guns.

Stink bombs are devices designed to create an extremely unpleasant smell for riot control and area denial purposes. Stink bombs are believed to be less dangerous than other riot control chemicals, since they are effective at low concentrations. Sticky foam weapons are being tested, which cover and immobilize rioters with a gooey foam. [12]

Low frequency sound cannons are weapons of various types that use sound to injure or incapacitate subjects using a focused beam of sound or infrasound. Active denial systems (ADS) are a non-lethal, directed-energy weapon developed by the U.S. military. The ADS directs electromagnetic radiation, specifically, high-frequency microwave radiation, at a frequency of 95 GHz, which causes the water in the upper epidermis to boil, stimulating a "burning" sensation in the nerve endings and generating intense pain. Dazzler lasers are directed-energy weapons that use intense light to cause temporary blindness or disorientation of rioters.

See also

Riot control units

Weapons used in riot control


  1. e.g. the Geneva Protocol of 1925: 'Prohibited the use of "asphyxiating gas, or any other kind of gas, liquids, substances or similar materials"'

Related Research Articles

Non-lethal weapon weapon intended to be less likely to kill a living target than conventional weapons

Non-lethal weapons, also called less-lethal weapons, less-than-lethal weapons, non-deadly weapons, compliance weapons, or pain-inducing weapons are weapons intended to be less likely to kill a living target than conventional weapons such as knives and firearms. It is often understood that unintended or incidental casualties are risked wherever force is applied, but non-lethal weapons try to minimise the risk as much as possible. Non-lethal weapons are used in policing and combat situations to limit the escalation of conflict where employment of lethal force is prohibited or undesirable, where rules of engagement require minimum casualties, or where policy restricts the use of conventional force.

Pepper spray Lachrymatory Agent

Pepper spray is a lachrymatory agent used in policing, riot control, crowd control, and self-defense, including defense against dogs and bears. Its inflammatory effects cause the eyes to close, taking away vision. This temporary blindness allows officers to more easily restrain subjects and permits people in danger to use pepper spray in self-defense for an opportunity to escape. It also causes temporary discomfort and burning of the lungs which causes shortness of breath. Although considered a less-than-lethal agent, it has been deadly in rare cases, and concerns have been raised about a number of deaths where being pepper sprayed may have been a contributing factor.

CS gas chemical compound

The compound 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile (also called o-chlorobenzylidene malononitrile; chemical formula: C10H5ClN2), a cyanocarbon, is the defining component of a tear gas commonly referred to as CS gas, which is used as a riot control agent. Exposure causes a burning sensation and tearing of the eyes to the extent that the subject cannot keep his or her eyes open, and a burning irritation of the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth and throat, resulting in profuse coughing, nasal mucus discharge, disorientation, and difficulty breathing, partially incapacitating the subject. CS gas is an aerosol of a volatile solvent (a substance that dissolves other active substances and that easily evaporates) and 2-chlorobenzalmalononitrile, which is a solid compound at room temperature. CS gas is generally accepted as being non-lethal. It was first synthesized by two Americans, Ben Corson and Roger Stoughton, at Middlebury College in 1928, and the chemical's name is derived from the first letters of the scientists' surnames.

Water cannon device that shoots a high-velocity stream of water

A water cannon is a device that shoots a high-velocity stream of water. Typically, a water cannon can deliver a large volume of water, often over dozens of meters. They are used in firefighting, large vehicle washing, riot control, and mining. Most water cannons fall under the category of a fire monitor.

CR gas chemical compound

CR gas or dibenzoxazepine, or its chemical name dibenz[b,f][1,4]oxazepine, is an incapacitating agent and a lachrymatory agent. CR was developed by the British Ministry of Defence as a riot control agent in the late 1950s and early 1960s. A report from the Porton Down laboratories described exposure as "like being thrown blindfolded into a bed of stinging nettles", and it earned the nickname "firegas".

Riot police

Riot police are police who are organized, deployed, trained or equipped to confront crowds, protests or riots.

Riot gun

In current usage a riot gun or less-lethal launcher is a type of firearm that is used to fire "non-lethal" or "less-lethal" ammunition for the purpose of suppressing riots. Less-lethal launchers may be special purpose firearms designed for riot control use, or standard firearms, usually shotguns and grenade launchers, adapted to riot control use with appropriate ammunition. The ammunition is most commonly found in 12 gauge shotguns and 37mm/40 mm grenade launchers.

Tear gas Non-lethal chemical weapon

Tear gas, formally known as a lachrymator agent or lachrymator, sometimes colloquially known as mace, is a chemical weapon that causes severe eye and respiratory pain, skin irritation, bleeding, and even blindness. In the eye, it stimulates the nerves of the lacrimal gland to produce tears. Common lachrymators include pepper spray, PAVA spray (nonivamide), CS gas, CR gas, CN gas, bromoacetone, xylyl bromide, syn-propanethial-S-oxide, and Mace, and household vinegar.

Crowd control

Crowd control is a public security practice where large crowds are managed to prevent the outbreak of crowd crushes, affray, fights involving drunk and disorderly people or riots. Crowd crushes in particular can cause many hundreds of fatalities. Effective crowd management is about managing expected and unexpected crowd occurrences. Crowd control can involve privately hired security guards as well as police officers. Crowd control is often used at large, public gatherings like street fairs, music festivals, stadiums and public demonstrations. At some events, security guards and police use metal detectors and sniffer dogs to prevent weapons and drugs being brought into a venue.

The 2005 Maldivian civil unrest refers to the civil unrest that broke out in Malé, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll and Addu Atoll of the Maldives on August 12, 2005 which led to events that supported the democratic reform of the country. This unrest was provoked by the arrest of Mohamed Nasheed - an open critic of the president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom - and the subsequent demolition of the Dhunfini tent, used by the members of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) for their gatherings. Supporters of MDP were quick to demonstrate. They started calling for the resignation of Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, soon after Nasheed's arrest. Several arrests were made on the first night followed by the demolition of the Dhunfini tent. The demolition complicated the situation further provoking the unrest. The unrest grew violent on the third night, on August 14, 2005, due to the methods used in the attempts by the authority to stop the demonstration.

Riot shield

A riot shield is a lightweight protection device deployed by police and some military organizations. Riot shields are typically long enough to cover an average-sized person from the top of the head to the knees, though smaller one-handed models may also be used. They are generally intended to be used in riot control, to protect the user from melee attacks with blunt or edged weapons and also thrown projectiles. They can also be used as short-ranged melee weapons to push back rioters. Most riot shields do not offer ballistic protection; ballistic shields are instead used in situations where heavily armed resistance is expected.

Baton charge

A baton charge is a coordinated tactic for dispersing crowds of people, usually used by police or military during public order situations.

Skunk (weapon)

"Skunk" is a malodorant, non-lethal weapon used for crowd control by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and marketed to militaries and law enforcement around the world. It was developed and is manufactured by Odortec, with two supporting companies, Man and Beit-Alfa Technologies. The liquid's strong odor is marketed as an improvement over other crowd control weapons (CCWs) such as rubber bullets and tear gas used by the IDF against Palestinian protestors. The IDF is criticized for its tactics during deployment, including common use against people, businesses, and neighborhoods not involved in protests as a form of collective punishment.

The Units for the Reinstatement of Order are a special division of the Hellenic Police, whose primary and most famous role is that of riot control.

The Occupy movement has been met with a variety of responses from local police departments since its beginning in 2011. According to documents obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, the FBI, state and local law enforcement officials treated the movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat and used fusion centers and counterterrorism agents to investigate and monitor the Occupy movement.

Peter Anthony James "Tank" Waddington, often credited as P. A. J. Waddington was an academic at the University of Wolverhampton, in the United Kingdom. He is known for his research and works on policing and social policy; in particular he is credited for inventing the concept of kettling as a means of preventing harm and disorder at major public order incidents.

Special Tactical Squad

The Special Tactical Squad was created in June of 2014, is an elite paramilitary task force of the Hong Kong Police Force, being a sub-division of the Police Tactical Unit (PTU). It was created to handle mass riot or protests with its main task being assuring a smooth progress of Riot control and bring order to chaos if the situation has been on-going for prolonged periods or time or even out of control, and/or if the Police Tactical Unit suffered from heavy blockade or obstruction. Using rapid maneuvers to remove obstacles, secure an area and to conduct arrests, provide first aid, etc. The Special Tactical Squad will also conduct observational and command related tasks, to ensure and review the Police Tactical Unit's use of force and tactics are appropriate, to further improve from past events.

The Justizwache is the prison guards corps of Austria. The corps is a department of the Ministry of Justice. Their task is the safeguarding of penitentiaries and theirs inmates and the security of the Courts in Austria. The Justizwache as well provides a special unit the Justizwache Einsatzgruppe (JEG).

Crowd control in Jammu and Kashmir

Crowd control in Jammu and Kashmir is a public security practice in the Indian state to prevent and manage violent riots. It is enforced by police forces through laws preventing unlawful assembly, as well as using riot control agents such as tear gas, chili grenades, and pellet guns. As a part of graded response to violent protests the police forces have used plastic bullets before pellet guns. Since 2017, the security forces have multiple options for enforcing crowd control such as tear smoke shells, PAVA shells, rubber bullets fired from gas guns, plastic bullets and pellets guns before finally resorting to opening fire against stone pelting protestors during violent clashes.


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  8. Commercial Backpack Blower / Sprayer System, US Army CBDCOM,June 1998.
  9. Operation TAILWIND Review Extract of U.S Air Force Report, Air Force Historical Office, July 1998 Archived April 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  10. Kostof, Spiro: "The City Shaped," p. 230. Bulfinch Press, 1991
  11. "Fightback! London's looters stay home as 16,000 police flood the streets ready to use plastic bullets". Daily Mail. 10 August 2011. Last night in Manchester the robust new approach of police was seen as plain-clothed ‘snatch squads’ targeted the ringleaders and dragged looters from shops to make arrests.
  12. How It Works Magazine - Experimental Riot Control: Riot Foam, How It Works, August 2011