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Guidelines for the activities of officers of the police units involved in public order management and for the use of physical force, special means and firearms by these officers during mass disorders


These guidelines, developed by the Armenian Police in the co-operation with the OSCE Office in Yerevan, define the general context and legislative framework, general principles of use of force, special means and firearms and outlines the responsibilities of police and procedural requirements


These guidelines aim to provide clarity for the use of force; the permission of, issue and use of special means and the use of firearms within the framework of national legislation, internationally recognized treaties and principles of contemporary law enforcement.

These guidelines are not an explanation about each special means or their tactical use, which should be dealt with through separate instructional or tactical manuals but does include some principles about tactics in general and some considerations to support their use.

The three elements of these guidelines – Use of Force, Special Means and Use of Firearms are inextricably linked and have to be considered as a variety of considerations and options within a ‘continuum of force’ with no application of force at one end and use of lethal weapons at the extreme. For example, when dealing with simple control of crowds, directing them through words or presence no force is required. The policing style i.e. appearance of the police, numbers, type of uniform, level of interaction or presence of shields can affect that relationship.

Special means may be necessary in crowd control but equally so in firearms related incidents where a less lethal or differentiated response may resolve the threat without the use of firearms. Firearms may be used in certain specific circumstances.

Policing is a complex profession and every eventuality connected with its activities is unique and cannot be prescribed. These guidelines focus on the key principles; legislation, permission and authority, essential considerations, individual accountability and organisational oversight. Where appropriate practical examples are provided suggesting a typical police response and the considerations that must be applied specific to each incident.