In a world…
In a world like the one we downtown Toronto residents will be living in for hopefully just another 24 hours, it’s important for us to understand things like riot tactics. Mmm, things you’d never thought you’d need to know.
I’ve talked to someone who has experience in these things. He explained to me common riot tactics employed by police.
“The point of a riot,” says he, “is to break things and cause mayhem.” Police always meet a riot in full riot gear, as we saw today. They meet a riot in a strong formation– individual police officers is not a good way of meeting rioting protesters.
One strategy is to surround a mob and disperse it with tear gas. Tear gas was used once today, on Queen and Peter, in response to protesters throwing things at police with enough force to dismount them.Although police did have tear gas, they did not use it elsewhere.
Police can also use a more tricky tactic. Take a look:
Another option is to physically disperse a crowd – in some of the pictures provided [he had seen photos -T.], you see the riot control unit closing with the mob. This is tricky because the strength of the LEO comes from a tight formation and the direct support of his fellow officers. If the formation is broken, LEOs can find themselves individually surrounded and taken down by rioters. Although once a mob has been “broken”, LEOs can begin to effect arrests.
Which is why LEO responses to riots always seem to be slow – every precaution has to be taken to keep a bad situation from becoming much worse. They form a solid base of control and begin a deliberate advance when necessary – if it is simply a matter of property damage, the powers in command may opt to let the riot run its course, blocking the advance if necessary.
Please note this last paragraph. If rioting is simply a matter of property damage– as opposed to physical attacks on people– police often opt to regroup elsewhere. Sound familiar? As rioters were heading up Yonge Street, smashing everything, they were unmolested. Police formed elsewhere, eventually surrounding the group, corralling it, and then arresting members who were, we hope, responsible for the worst of the damage.
Many thanks to my acquaintance who furnished me with this insight. However, he is not a law enforcement officer and is not affiliated with the ISU (or even Canadian.) Keep that in mind when considering this information. However, he is a brave person who knows his stuff, so thanks.