This video is why our police officers need to learn the art of self-defence
Recently, a brawl broke out between a citizen and a group of traffic police officers at the busy PIDC intersection in Karachi. Initially, media reports painted the citizen as a victim who had been subjected to police torture. Civil society and political activists joined the bandwagon as well and the perpetrator was released after a brief detention period.
Later on, when the CCTV footage was released, it showed a completely different picture where a law enforcer was seen approaching a citizen instructing him to move his motorcycle away from the no-parking zone. After a very brief exchange of words, the deranged individual initiated a fistfight by punching the cop right in his face and throwing him down to the ground. It took four policemen and a Rangers officer to subdue the burly former navy employee and take him into custody.
Internationally, law enforcement officers may use whatever force is reasonably necessary to affect an arrest or protect themselves (or others) from imminent harm. This is the rule of thumb and is widely practiced in developed countries. A law enforcer is supposed to protect him/her self and others before making his move to disarm or subdue an attacker.
As part of routine training, police officers are taken through courses involving self-defence, basic first-aid/CPR, domestic violence, patrol procedures/techniques, health and fitness etc. Internationally, the law says that if a law enforcer feels that an individual is approaching him/her with intentions of causing any kind of harm, s/he is authorised to use all means necessary to control the situation. This could also involve using a fire arm for self-protection.
There are several non-lethal gadgets including tasers (a weapon firing barbs attached by wires to batteries, causing temporary paralysis), pepper sprays, batons, etc. that are routinely used by police officers to subdue and capture a deranged individual without causing any serious physical injury.
What can our police authorities do?
- Perform frequent health and fitness checks on our police officers.
- Arrange frequent refresher courses in self-defence and first aid.
- Equip and train the law enforcers (including traffic police) in using the following non-lethal gadgets.
Pepper sprays are used in policing, riot control, crowd control, and personal self-defence, including defence against dogs and bears. Its inflammatory effects cause the eyes to close and it obstructs vision temporarily. This temporary blindness permits people using pepper sprays for self-defence as the perfect opportunity to escape and allows officers to restrain subjects easily.
A taser fires two small dart-like electrodes, which stay connected to the main unit by conductors in order to deliver electric current to disrupt the voluntary control of muscles causing neuromuscular incapacitation. Tasers were introduced as non-lethal weapons for the police to use in order to subdue fleeing, belligerent, or potentially dangerous people, who would have otherwise been subjected to more lethal weapons such as firearms.
Flexi cuffs (plastic handcuffs)
Plastic handcuffs are a form of physical restraint for the hands, using plastic straps. They function as handcuffs but are cheaper and easier to carry as compared to metal handcuffs.
A baton is essentially a club of less than arm’s length made of wood, rubber, plastic or metal. They are carried for forced compliance and self-defence by law-enforcement officers.
With the above mentioned equipment, a law enforcer won’t have to get into a royal rumble with a perpetrator and would rather use one of these gadgets to smoothly subdue and arrest a violent individual.
What we saw at the traffic intersection at PIDC was complete failure on part of our police trainers. With a little more focus on fitness levels and self-defence techniques the police higher ups can save the entire department from such embarrassing situations in the future.