Over the past 12 years I’ve been traveling and visiting with Police and Military Crowd Control units all over the World.

I have been doing this on my quest to understand more of the ways crowds are managed from a police perspective and in what way I can design the best blunt trauma protection for the next generation Law Enforcement Officer.

This resulted in a completely new type of PPE XionPG and vast knowledge on how things are done, what the most recent scientific studies say should be done and what therefore has to change! All things that support the New Way of dealing with crowds.

The Public Order Management way!

Le Bon (1895) wrote:

“Under certain given circumstances, and only under those circumstances, an agglomeration of men presents new characteristics very different from those of the individuals composing it. The sentiments and ideas of all the persons in the gathering take one and the same direction, and their conscious personality vanishes. A collective mind is formed, doubtless transitory, but presenting very clearly defined characteristics.”

Le Bon observed (even though never by first-hand experience!) several characteristics of what he called the “organized” or “psychological” crowd, including:

  1. Submergenceor the disappearance of a conscious personality and the appearance of an unconscious personality
  2. Contagion(“In a crowd every sentiment and act is contagious, and contagious to such a degree that an individual readily sacrifices his personal interest to the collective interest).
  3. Suggestibilityas the result of a hypnotic state. “All feelings and thoughts are bent in the direction determined by the hypnotizer” and the crowd tends to turn these thoughts into acts.

Modern theory

Numerous Examinations of the classical set Stereotypes have been done since the late 60’s. Since then, many other social scientists have come up with a lot of critique on the Classical standpoints. Knowledge from these modern day studies of crowd psychology indicate that:

  • It appears that “Crowds are not homogeneous entities” they are composed ” of a minority of individuals and a majority of small groups of people who are acquainted with one another or share a single or couple of similar convictions.”
  • “Crowd participants are (neither) unanimous in their motivation nor to one another. Participants “seldom act in unison, and if they do, that action does not last long.”
  • “Crowds do not cripple individual cognition” and “are not uniquely distinguished by violence or disorderly actions.”
  • “Individual attitudes and personality characteristics”, as well as “socioeconomic, demographic and political variables are poor predictors of riot intensity and individual participation.”

 The outcomes of these more recent studies have been the basis of creating the ESIM model.

Elaborated social identity model (ESIM)

The ESIM has at its basis the proposition that a component part of the self-concept determining human social behaviour derives from psychological membership of particular social categories (i.e., an identity of a unique individual), crowd participants also have a range of social identities which can become salient within the psychological system referred to as the ‘self.’

For many forces around the world it has always been and still is a huge struggle to adapt to the changing of the tides in interacting with the masses. This calls for a completely different approach and vision than ever before and a significant change in mindset from the most senior officer commanding an event right through to the officers interacting with the individuals on the street. This is why it is such a challenging task for forces to implement this new style of managing public order events.

However, with these new insights it is imperative that we change our old system for a new vision! Public Order Management is the key to changing the negative outcomes we are seeing now. For change in approach equals change in outcome!

Program Development Team at POMA (Public Order Management Academy):

Government Training Institute (GTI) is internationally known as a leader in SWAT and tactical training with its training centre in South Carolina; it has created an alliance with a team of subject matter experts in the field of Public Order Management. 

Dr. Tamara D. Herold of the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rene Gaemers of Batavae Training & Consultancy out of the Netherlands and Neil Pollock, retired Public Order Management Trainer and Tactical Advisor from The Metropolitan Police in London, UK.

The team is working with colleagues from around the US and abroad to set up a Public Order Management Academy at GTI’s South Carolina facilities.  The facility is expansive and allows for all levels of Public Order training: from the basic Field Force style training through specialist training such as role specific evidence capture and liaison officers to work with protest organizers before during and after an event; to classroom-based training for those who will command the POM events and the team who will assist and support them.

The facility also allows for the option to recreate events to assist in debriefs or to develop new tactics. 

“Change is not by chance, it is by choice!”

For more information on the Public Order Management Academycourses, please contact GTI directly.

*Phone: 803-259-1935 *Email: [email protected]  *Web: www.gtitraining.org

Written by: Rene Gaemers and Neil Pollock