Policing a crowd doesn’t always mean managing a mob. Crowds come in all varieties – sometimes a crowd is a mass demonstration, but most often it’s just a group of five or more people in a public place. It could be teenagers hanging out in a park or a group of women swapping stories at the market. And whether big or small, ensuring these crowds are safe and orderly requires special police work.

This is why crowd management is one of the focal points of MYPOL’s work. Our goal is to help officers learn how to interact safely with crowds in ways that respect the dignity and rights of Myanmar’s citizens. To do this, we offer crowd management trainings to the Myanmar Police Force (MPF).

Our most recent training was held in Yangon in September 2017. Spanish National Police Superintendent Julio Bueno – MYPOL’s key expert in crowd management – brought together 150 Myanmar police to focus on certain skills and tactics when working with crowds. The trainees were from all ranks and came from all across the country to take part in the training. Thirty of them had attended previous MYPOL trainings and were now working on their skills as instructors. This is crucial to MYPOL’s projects; we train police so that they may go and teach others.

Small units – such as police patrols – are the most likely to handle public interactions, so the majority of the training focused on working within these units to properly manage crowds. Trainees learned UN standards and best practices for these types of situations.

Other topics covered in the training included techniques for arrests and restraint, crime scene protection, rapid deployment and casualty care.

This was the third crowd management training conducted by Superintendent Bueno and several more are planned throughout the remaining four years of the MYPOL’s commitment to working with the MPF.