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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 16. September 8th 1971

How it will Happen here? — Training Wing: Papakura Camp — Internal Security — Methods of Suppressing Unlawful Assemblies and Riots

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How it will Happen here?

Training Wing: Papakura Camp

Internal Security

Methods of Suppressing Unlawful Assemblies and Riots


1.This precis explains in detail the action which should be taken by armed forces when suppressing an unlawful assembly or a riot in any country where the English law applies. In countries where the English law has been modified the instructions given in this precis will have to be adapted to meet the requirement of the local law. It is essential therefore that all military, commanders should acquaint themselves with local law. Wherever possible references from the NZ Crimes Act will be given so a comparison may be made.

Outline Plan

2.If widespread disorders are expected military intervention to deal with unlawful assemblies and riots need to be preplanned and rehearsed by the civil police and military authorities together. Outline plans should cover the following:-
(a)An assessment of the different types of disturbance likely to develop, their probable locations and strength and action needed to suppress them.
(b)An assessment of what troops will be required for each locality and the earmarking of a specific unit for each task.
(c)Arrangements for establishing joint Military/[unclear: Police] operational HQs.
(d)The channel through which requests for military assistance will be made.
(e)Preparation of special stores e.g. banners in the appropriate language etc.
(f)Arrangements for joint and sicreet reconnaissances as necessary.
(g)Training and rehearsal of all concerned including the testing of communications and the procedure for handing over/taking over a riotous situation.
3.It is essential that when the armed forces are called upon to deal with an unlawful assembly or a riot the following points be noted:
(a)That it is desirable for each body of troops to be accompanied by a magistrate or his representative e.g. Police Officer.
(b)That the military commanders must be prepared to intervene on their own authority if necessary (NZ Crime, Act 1961 Sec 46).
(c)That the troops should be ready to intervene immediately on arrival at the scene of a disturbance for if there is a delay it tends to allow a build up in front of them.

Dispersal of a Crowd

4.Once it is deemed necessary for armed forces to intervene the military commander is entirely responsible for deciding the course of action to be taken. At the same time he should be guided by advice. given by the police or civil [unclear: authorttion].


5.If possible a commander will [unclear: the] try to disperse the crowd by [unclear: t] non-violent means e.g.:-
(a)Verbal and visual [unclear: persuas] using loudspeakers, banners and bugles etc.
(b)The reading by a [unclear: magistra iolice)] of the proclamation under the Riot Act (or it [unclear: iivalent)](NZ Crimes Act 1961 Sec 88).
(c)Producing of cameras to [unclear: paragraph] ringleaders, agitators, and others to enable them to [unclear: identified] later as disturbers of the peace.
(d)A steady advance of [unclear: soldii w]ith fixed bayonets. However this form of threat must [unclear: be] used if the commander is quite certain that the [unclear: trc] will not come in contact with the crowd and hand-to-[unclear: hand. thting] breakout.
6.If all these methods are [unclear: ineftve ve] or impracticable then more drastic action will have to [unclear: be jnnen.] (NZ Crimes Act 1961 Sec 89).

Opening Fire

7.The responsibility for [unclear: deciding] open fire is solely that of the commander on the spot. [unclear: Hi] ask representatives of the civil authorities for an [unclear: opin] he cannot ask them to share the responsibility for his [unclear: action] (NZ Crimes Act 1961 Sec 43 and 89 (3).
8.When the commander decides [unclear: the] must be resorted to in order to restore a situation as far [unclear: as possible] the subsequent action will be as follows:-
(a)The crowd will he warned [unclear: avl] available means the [unclear: effectiv] fire will be opened [unclear: unless] disperses at once.
(b)The order to fire will be [unclear: av el] by the military commander himself to the fire unit [unclear: to rned] He will clearly and in a loud voice indicate the [unclear: th an], and the number of rounds to be fired (minimum force).
(c)Marksmen should be used [unclear: to ied] fire. One man may be used but an effort should be [unclear: me o] conceal his identity.

Types of Weapons "Fire" to be [unclear: used]

9.When fire is produced the following points must be noted:-
(a)That it must be effective [unclear: ve]
(b)That, no firing of blank [unclear: or ve] ordered.
(c)That fire should be [unclear: tlay] directed at persons who can be seen to be taking an [unclear: and] part in the disturbance.
(d)That by firing low [unclear: in tarning roads] or other hard surfaces innocent pcoole behind or [unclear: cent] to the crowd may be [unclear: injurce]. or even killed by [unclear: ricochet]
(e)That the rifle is the [unclear: best poon] to use against a crowd because its fire is easy [unclear: control].
(f)That rapid fire from [unclear: rifle] automatic weapons should only be used in the gravest [unclear: eracy] and only when individual shots have failed.
(g)That in a really serious [unclear: re] the threat of fire from an armoured vuh is a powerful [unclear: errent] to a hostile crowd but if such a vehicle is [unclear: presc] must be closely protected by infantry.

Action after firing

10.The effect of the [unclear: fiting] must [unclear: be] judged by the number of casualties but by the [unclear: subsequent sections] of the crowd. As soon as it is considered [unclear: that e] desired effect has been achieved the following action will be [unclear: fjhg]:- page break
(a)Firing will be stopped at once. Empty catridges cases will be collected and checked.
(b)Immediate assistance wi11 be given to any wounded.
(c)Any necessary steps will be taken to facilitate the clearing of the area. In this operation it is essential that exits are not blocked, that the crowd on the move in the right direction is not stampeded and that No action involving violence is taken against persons while attempting to disperse.
(d)If practicable efforts will be made to obtain names and addresses of neutral witnesses who saw the military action and firing.
(e)Any dead bodies must be collected and held until they can be handed over to the police. They must not be allowed to be removed by relatives or friends.
(f)Any persons who have been apprehended will be held until they can be handed over to the police.
11.Finally the armed forces and police or rep. must remain at the scene of the disturbance until it is clear that the situation has been restored.

Photo of riot police and armoured vehicles on a street


12.When armed forces are called upon to operate in support of the civil power it is important that complete records are made of all the happenings as they occur. Therefore commanders at all levels should arrange for a form of diary to be kept in which is recorded such things as:-
(a)Important events in their chronological order
(b)Brief details of any orders received and issued either in writing or verbally.
(c)Factual information such as the names of civil representatives police officers with whom the commander has consulted etc.
(d)Brief details of any requests, proposals and advice given by civil authorities.
(e)Reasons for decisions subsequent action taken and results.
13.Photographs form a valuable record of the situation. Military action in support of a civil power is often subject to an enquiry therefore it is essential to be able to establish the facts.
14.Attached at Annexure A is a detail plan for [unclear: plaboon] crowd dispersal.

Employment of Troops in a Police role

15.In the above paragraphs are described the Normal methods by which troops will assist the civil power in dispersal of unlawful assemblies and riots. They are armed and equipped of soldiers and act as such. However in certain exceptional circumstances overseas a governor or commander in chief of his equivalent may decide to authorise troop to be used in a Police role e.g. armed with batons ana shields to Renforce the local police force. It is emphasized that this is not a normal method of aiding civil power and will not be used without direct orders from a governor or Commander in Chief.


16.It must be remembered that whatever the circumstances or the method used the principles must always be the guiding force.


Minimum Force


Good Faith