Category Archives: Public order situations

Public order situations

Element Descriptor

Public order situations can be scary as. But knowing what the cops are likely to do, spotting the patterns (it’s more than just “kettling”) means you can make smarter choices. Otherwise, you’re just deer in the headlights, learning expensive lessons slowly.

Level descriptors

You know the basic moves that police forces use during the beginnings, peak and latter stages of a public order situation (it’s more than just “kettling”), and how – given the geography, history and present climate – things might turn out on a given day. But of course, there is always the possibility of a blue swan event.You know the favourite tactics and current capacities of the relevant police forces and what they are likely to do, given the current political climate. You know what the press releases will say the following day, after the controversial footage goes up online…You are able to figure out, from glimpses and overheard orders, what is going to be done to who next, and when exactly might be the right time to make yourself scarce if you don’t want to headbutt a truncheon…Gold command sees their career prospects evaporating when a spotter reports your presence.

Element Overview Essay

This is a draft. If something doesn’t make sense, or you see typos, or if you have further ideas, please email us on

The reasons that this is understood badly or not at all is that people have grabbed hold of the notion of kettling and misapplied it to simply mean people being surrounded. And not seeing all of the other ways in which public order situations are dealt by police and rent-a-goons.

The consequences are that people end up getting arrested who perhaps didn’t need to be or certainly didn’t want to be demoralisation and a feeling of defeat. I’m not saying that knowledge will set you free with the right tactics or with the right anticipation that somehow all of that money and all of that legal weight, and all of that training can be overcome. But it’s still worth knowing this stuff.

So the solutions are that you figure out by reading and listening and talking and studying the ways in which police forces control public order situations. And once you have that knowledge, it’s easier to spot what’s going on and to anticipate what’s likely to happen next. What use you then put that information to is another question. Of course, not advocating. Well, anything other than that we get smart about what’s going on.

Development Resources

Assessment Resources