This one-day seminar was developed through the support of the Armenian police headquarters Public Order Management Department with the aim to acknowledge improvements in passive policing and to discuss the management problems with policing of non-passive incidents.
To highlight these ongoing problems a one-day seminar was developed through the support of the Armenian police headquarters Public Order Management Department and twelve middle managers responsible for public order management attended.
A representative of the Helsinki Committee of Armenia formed part of the seminar and gave an interesting presentation on his assessment and comparison from pre-2008 policing of assemblies through to the findings of the Observations of Freedom of Assemblies during the period 24th February to 15th April 2013. His conclusions were in line with the international policing experts views – in that passive policing of assemblies has improved through better legislation, police behaviour and less visible numbers needed at assemblies. He highlighted that problems continue to occur with the excessive and uncontrolled use of video recording and when the incident escalates, whilst accepting many of the ‘activists’ are problematic, the police response is often disproportionate.
This methodology was very beneficial as it was current material, visible behaviour was observable, yet used in the context of the overall seminar aim - that was not intended to show the police in a negative way, but to highlight work that needs to continue in this area, which includes, behaviour, tactics and command related issues.
The seminar was successful and initiated a lot of debate and acceptance that some problems continue to occur. The practice of using ‘external’ bodies like the Helsinki Committee to support future OSCE seminars / courses / workshops should be considered as it provides local, as well as civil society opportunities to interact with the police.