Protect and Serve
September 22, 2019
Delta Three Oscar explores how innovations in blunt trauma impact protection, coupled with new approaches to crowd management, are changing the way law enforcement officers interact with citizens.
‘An individual in a crowd is a grain of sand amid other grains of sand, which the wind stirs up at will’ – this famous quotation from 19th century French psychologist Gustave Le Bon encapsulates an approach to crowd management that is very familiar to Rene Gaemers.
A former officer with the Royal Dutch Military Police and Amsterdam Police, and co-founder of Netherlands-based protection specialist XION®, Gaemers is also a crowd management and tactical training expert. “Crowd and public order management has changed remarkably little since the days of Le Bon,” he says.
“Much law enforcement training is still based on the idea that when people gather, they turn into one entity with each person shedding their identity and becoming potentially predisposed to violent collective action. The response is invariably a provocative show of force.”
Gaemers cites as an example the recent confrontations between the Mouvement des Gilets Jaunes protesters and French police: “The core principle of public order management is that the majority of crowds that gather are law-abiding citizens exercising their legal right to protest. In Paris, you had the police kitted up and what began as peaceful demonstrations became violent confrontations with a hostile counter-force.”