Dalton McGuinty, Bill Blair defend quiet boost in arrest powers, June 26, 2010.
Police tactics during protests and use of force
Use of force
International law directs that “law enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty” and “shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force,” using force “only if other means remain ineffective.” When the use of force is necessary, law enforcement officials must “exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offense.”
The use of force against those engaging in peaceful assembly is highly problematic. In such situations, individuals are engaging in non-violent behaviour that is constitutionally protected. Prior to any use of force, non-violent means should be exhausted to the greatest extent possible, and decisions regarding deployment of force during demonstrations must take into account the unique protections for this democratic activity, as well as basic principles of necessity and proportionality.
Specifically, these principles dictate that particularly careful planning and training is necessary when responding to peaceful, but disruptive, protest. Protesters should be given clear orders and explicit warnings, and time to voluntarily respond, before force used. Police should employ techniques that diffuse, rather than escalate, tension. Finally, given the incident involving undercover officers at the Summit of the Americas, clear guidelines should be issued to any undercover officers to ensure that officers’ primary duty is to monitor the protest, and that they take no action that would escalate, provoke or incite violence on the part of the crowd.
Sonic cannon and crowd control weapons
There are a number of newer crowd control weapons that have not yet been employed in Canada. In general, these weapons target groups of people, rather than individuals. In many cases the health effects are not well known and give rise to serious concerns. CCLA is particularly concerned about the possible use of the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD, or sound cannon). We request assurances that LRAD will not be deployed at the G20. If the LRAD will be deployed, we request that the ISU follow the Vancouver Police Department’s lead and disable the ‘alert’ function of the weapon.
%l newwin%[[Uploads:CCLA-G-20-INTERIM-REPORT-A-Breach-of-the-Peace-June-29-2010.pdf|A BREACH OF THE PEACE]], link.