Police Tactics

(some) Police Tactics

Police are armed government employees controlled by the ruling class to protect their interests. This old fashioned class analysis is a truism. While police often serve a civic function such as traffic control, intervening in domestic violence, etc., during times of political resistance, unlike Canadian soldiers, their enemy is us, the domestic population instead of people of colour in foreign lands.

Western nations run more efficiently when police do not murder its citizens. That is why the objectives of soldiers differs markedly from the police. But while we are privileged to be not bombed and shot by the Canadian military,  we are living in increasingly rebellious times when the ruling class are stealing too much of our economy, support imperial wars and sabotage efforts to heal mother earth. Protests, strikes, revolts and rebellions are now the norm, so warfare is increasingly influencing policing.

Yet individually, police are often human beings like us. Even in formation, police can be relaxed and social. You might even chat with police, share doughnuts, etc..
BUT, when police are given an order, police OBEY.  Police work as a hierarchical unit. They are often taught to fear demonstrators, and are conditioned that their safety is dependent on them working as a team and obeying orders together. 

The police para-military organization has commanders, undercovers, provocateurs, investigators, lieutenants, specialists, front-line officers and lots of support staff. They may have community liaison officers being friendly with the protest organizers trying to get information, etc..

During a demonstration, you may see a group of police. Most often, they have a superior behind them barking orders or instructing them via their earphone, like a quaterback gives orders to the linesmen. That commander maybe getting orders from a hidden command post in a mobile police command vehicle or building. 
When police are ordered to Prepare, they Prepare. When ordered to GO!, they GO!. When ordered to Clear the street, they attempt to Clear the street. When ordered to Fire pepper spray, tear gas, ballistics, etc., they Fire at us.

That is why you should be also paying attention to what police are doing and trying to guess what their objectives are for the protest. What are the police doing with their weapons how are they moving? Have your mobile scouts report on what the police are doing on streets hidden from the demonstration. This is why when we work together, we are more powerful than the police.

Police Objectives:
Police at demonstrations have different objectives. Sometimes it is just to monitor and make sure the crowd keeps moving.

But they can also be ordered to break apart demonstrations. We notice Montreal police (SPVM) attempt to break apart demonstrations by shooting sound bombs into the crowd to scare people away; shooting rubber bullets at people, tear gas (in empty parts of the city), spraying people with pepper spray; charges by lines of riot police on foot, on bicycle or sometimes on horses. They have given up motorcycle charges it seems, as too dangerous for them (get knocked over). The Montreal Police's favorite chant (which we now use against them) is "Bouge!" (Move!).

Police use tactics and weapons such as pepper spray, tear gas, batons, ballistics, their robo-cop black uniforms, etc.. generally to get demonstrators to move away, to scare us, to punish and arrest some, and of course, to try to get us to fear them. If we can resist their violence (and we can to a large degree), then we can continue our actions for global justice.

When police charge, they may want to simply break apart a crowd, or herd the crowd away from some streets and onto a certain streets. They may want to break up a demo and herd a group of people into a police trap for a mass arrests. THAT IS WHY WE EMPHASIZE YOU USE SCOUTS TO INFORM YOU WHAT DIRECTIONS TO TAKE ARE SAFER INSTEAD OF MORE DANGEROUS.

Generally, police charge as a group (for their own safety), and if you move to the side of the charge, they may run past you going after the main crowd. If they catch you during a run, they may push you ahead, knock you down, hit you with a baton or shield, kick you, and even arrest you. Beware that there can be a number of groups of police charging or working together to isolate and trap you. One tricky demonstrator avoided a police charge by hopping over a fence into a garden, only to be confronted by a skunk!

Typically, with a large number of defiant demonstrators, the police trying to break us up and chase us around often leads to a long day or night of running around and regrouping, all over the city. This cat & mouse can go on for hours and is a memorable way to get to know our dear Montreal. Eventually we get too tired and call it a night, "Salut", "A la prochaine manif" and go home or to a bar or to an underground cavern and plan the next phase of the revolution. Some of us leave because we promised the babysitter we would be back at a certain hour.

For a protest being harassed by the police, you will generally only see a fraction of the actual police accompanying the crowd. Many are in police vans and cars, and city buses on side streets or in the rear following the demonstration. They might be staging (getting ready) in a nearby parking lot or interior garage. THAT IS WHY WE EMPHASIZE YOU USE SCOUTS TO INFORM YOU WHAT THE POLICE ARE UP TO OUTSIDE OF VIEW.

When the police want to arrest people,
they have done so in several typical ways:
1. During a fluid situation, police may capture people during a police charge, people who venture too close to the police, or targeting certain people.
2. They have surrounded people and not let them leave. Then they either mass arrest everyone in their net, or send in units of several cops to specifically arrest certain people. This works best when people are not resisting arrest, but if the crowd is rowdy, then such a charged confrontation is dangerous for everyone.
3. We have seen police attempt to divide let's say anarchists from union members, and arrest the anarchists.

(See the sections on Scouts and Role Plays).

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