To start with here are a couple of basic questions:
Do you check with law enforcement in your local area or the area you are travelling to, to check on demonstrations, of whatever nature?
You should know your local area like the back of your hand, but what about an area you visit, regularly or on one off visits; how quickly on arrival do you familiarise yourself with the area?
No need to explain the definition of a hostile crowd, it is self explanatory but the different crowds and how they develop are important to understand.
Here is a short list of where a hostile crowd may be found.
Static Demonstrations (Picket Lines)
Football (Soccer) Matches
Mostly anywhere where there are nightclubs, bars and alcohol
This short list shows you that these types of events mainly happen outside both in urban and rural areas. Where they happen indoors are on static demonstrations where groups occupy buildings and turn violent when they are being evicted.
For anyone caught in a hostile crowd situation the main aim is to vacate the area as soon as possible. It may be the case that you have to wait until it is safe to do so or it may be that to wait may be too dangerous and the only solution is to go through the crowd.
Anyone can be caught and become a possible target in a hostile crowd situation, civilian, executive protection operator, military and law enforcement personnel. Either on foot or in vehicles bad luck or bad planning can land you in a life threatening situation.
The photo below shows HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in their vehicle in the middle of riots in Central London. Bad planning and number of mistakes could have had disastrous results.
Tip - If you are in a vehicle keep all windows up. You can see the window was open in the photo, the door was nearly forced open. Bad all round.
Parents who have children must act like a close protection team in this situation. The team give all round body cover and walk through the crowd to the recognised point of safety. if they are attacked the nearest C/S (Call Sign) deals with the threat.
If as a parent; you have one child who is small enough to carry then the mother should carry the child, although the father will cover both mother and child it will be he who defends them if attacked. I have seen others who say the father should carry the child because he is stronger but that is wrong unless of course the wife is better in combat than the husband.
If you have two children, then if possible the mother should carry one and the father if an older child is present should again be covering all with the older child in front. Remember it is even more imperative in these situations to have 360 degree awareness. Movement should be broken down into bounds, which I have talked about in the past, see my book Meditations of a Modern Warrior.
Team work is all important here.
If you are in a location where you carry a concealed firearm as a civilian do not have your weapon free, law enforcement are not going take chances upon seeing it. By all means have your hand on your weapon ready to draw but do not have it presented unless you need to use it.
Buildings in close proximity to the riot are not the safest as these will no doubt be smashed and looted. Moving to higher floors in the building is no good as the risk of fire from the ground can cut off any escape. if you need to use buildings in close proximity use them to get to further buildings, look for fire exits at the rear or furthest exits to put distance and obstacles between you and the rioters.
One thing you do not want to do is walk towards a police line, yes if there are officers nearby then seek help but remember rioters and looters will want to take on the police and you will be between both.
Now I know you are asking yourself 'How can a friendly crowd be dangerous'? Well unfortunately they can be and more so because they are friendly.
Think of a crowd of screaming fans of a pop group, film star or other celebrity. Not only pushing, crushing, running etc. But pushing, crushing and fighting in some cases to get close to their idols. Because no violence is expected, then especially for parents taking young girls to events where this happens it can be a traumatic and deadly experience. Hysteria soon catches on and in a sudden dash it is can be easy to get trampled and lose those you are with.
Events with metal barriers or fences can also cause crushing problems for those at the front where the fans behind are pushing forward. So plan for safety as well as planning for a good time.
It can happen to anyone.
This is basic information, in the next blog post we will look at some kit and equipment you can easily carry in your day sack (ruck sack) and employ when it gets serious to help you get to safety.
Have you trained for this event?