UC Conflict Management 
Seminar for the MET

 

 

 

On the 12th of Dec07 I had the pleasure of teaching a seminar to the London Metropolitan Police or the MET. The subject was Conflict Management and Subject Control & Restraint. This was geared to assist the rules of engagement and objectives of the Police Officer, that being to Arrest and Interview. As we all know, Combatives are methods of counter violence adaptable right across the board for Civilians, Security, CPO’s, Military and in this case Law Enforcement. After the initial introduction, Module one; started by defining the confines and restrictions that Police Officers face in terms of level of force issues and also, at the options and resources available to them.

We also looked at several training models relating to this, such as the Level of force Continuum, this starts with the police officer’s uniformed presence coupled with verbal commands from here, the officer would move to passive contact skills to arrest and handcuff. Up to this point the subject may have been relatively compliant. Next the level of force may escalate anywhere from compliance skills to defensive tactics, aimed at a non-compliant and potentially violent subject, which may be up to and including lethal force, if the  threat to force parallel was such. In addition to this we looked at John Lofty Wiseman’s Self-Protection training model, the Vital Pyramid which depicts the relevance of the said training models elements, in relation to the police officer.

KIT
SKILLS
TACTICS
MINDSET

Here is the Vital Pyramid the training model that depicts Combative efficiency.

Module two; went onto look at certain Body Language cues, pre-attack indicators and the precursors to violence such as weight shift and hand concealment, preceding weapon access and deployment etc. This in turn would provide the criteria for action, ideally from a pro-active perspective on the part of the officer. This module was depicted with training models; coupled with physical demonstration and drills. We then went onto look at Situational Control of Proxemics, via the use of the fence and other natural un-obtrusive positions. Here certain additional elements were shown, such as approaching from a forty-five degree position, monitoring the subject’s hands and taking passive control of the subject’s arm as a precursor to restraint/handcuffing etc as is relevant to the officer’s objective.

 

Module three; took us into the physical element of Subject Control; where the main points emphasized were distraction via pain (from force to threat relevant striking) before restraint, along with TEAM tactics as opposed to solo restraint. Here I focused on making a couple of skills completely understood, then adaptable to a completely non-compliant subject, giving real resistance under pressure as opposed to learning a myriad of different skills under non-realistic compliant conditions. The methods focused on placing the subject into a position for handcuffing, where necessary taking the subject to the ground along with the means of getting the subject back up on their feet and moving, for escort.

 

Here is an example of pain/distraction before restraint, via a knee strike to the outer thigh…

 

From here the subject is taken into a position for handcuffing…

 

Now the subject is brought up to his feet for transport.

 

 

The armbar position precedes handcuffing…

 

Going through the nuances of barring the arm into position…

then locking the subject into a position of compliance.

 

This sequence depicts the use of a head control after an incidental strike…

 

This skill is aimed at controlling the subject’s decent to the ground, from where you can control him, monitor him for weapons then handcuff as necessary.

 

Some of the officers drilling the head control to takedown…

Once this was down, for Module four; I quickly had everyone group into threes, for the application of team tactics via the Contact & Cover principle. Here two officers work together to arrest one hostile subject. The objective is to create a full scope of observation without creating an overpowering presence. Restraint is employed by either the Contact or the Cover in exactly the same way as before, i.e. via pain/distraction, followed immediately by the assistance of the other officer.  The first scenario looked at this from a pro-active perspective then we progressed to having the hostile subject wearing focus pads kicking off with one of the officers, by steaming in with flailing punches.

 

Cover man blasts in with a gross-motor knee to the thigh of the hostile subject…

 

 

From here initiative is exploited via simultaneous group restraint. This guy was majorly non-compliant and gave an Oscar winning street thug performance, giving these guys a real run for their money.

 

None-the-less by sticking to the principles shown, successful restraint was applied as the handcuffed subject was brought back to his feet for transport.

 

From here, the tactic of restraint is employed in exactly the same way though, after lost initiative and in both cases included a good level of non-compliance. This was taken to the conclusion of simulated handcuffing with the subject fully restrained and back up on his feet for transport.  What is evident when training under such non-compliant conditions, is that in order to successfully restrain a Combative subject, (hell bent on preventing the same) you must precede or enter the situation with a large gross motor movement in order to divert attention, before you can apply the fine motor action of articulating the wrist/arm into a position for handcuffing or restraint.

 

Examples of this are seen employed by any Cell-extraction team, where 3-5 officers will work together and one will employ a large gross-motor action, such as one officer blasting the subject into the wall of the cell with a riot shield, then the rest of the team will move in, to take a limb each, raise the subject horizontal and then apply restraint. Another example used by such teams also includes the use of CS gas and in some cases, tazer first, as a gross-motor distraction. Hospital orderlies will employ verbal distraction from the front, as 2-3 people simultaneously rush the subject and take him/her down before manual restraints and in some cases straps are applied. For our officers here, we employed the use of a gross-motor strike such as a knee to the thigh of a Thai style kick to the same, before blasting the subject into an arm-bar position.

This is how it is, a non-compliant struggle, make it work here and it will work for you ‘’live’’ time.

 

Any time such a situation goes live; there is a good chance that all subjects will hit the ground, during the impact or clash of such a scenario as any of the street crime UK TV programs will show you.  The action of blamming the subject into the ground, a wall or even the side of the van/car will create the gross-motor distraction that will in turn; make the fine-motor action of restraining the limb possible. This will often happen beyond the control of the officer, due to the non-compliancy of the hostile subject, this is just how it is and one of the reasons that restraint, will never be more efficient than the ballistic impact created by striking, but restraint is all we have to work with here, therefore we have to adapt it to make it functional. As these pictures will show you, this is exactly what came out when these guys made it live, but effective restraint was obtained along with the adrenal effect and sub-conscious programming that accompanies such scenario training hence the idea of taking a couple of skills and making them work under such stressful conditions.

 

 

 

Module five; looked at third party intervention, such as intervening to assist a colleague, a member of the public or to break up a fight for example.  Here we used the Thai or pivot style kick or the same knee strike to the thigh, approaching from behind or slightly flanked to the subject, as a means to intervene. This low-line kick to the thigh is a good low level of force option that has proved extremely effective in this kind of situation on numerous occasions. As a struggle ensues, approach from a good position that offers the side of the aggressor’s thigh as a target, from here just kick straight in and through the leg. This motion will disrupt his structure and balance making a restraint available. Chances are now that, if intervening to help anyone, other than another police officer, your follow up restraint will now be from a solo perspective, but the two-man option is available and should be employed, if you have such assistance available as a resource.  

 

Here we see the Thai kick intervention practiced on an impact shield in training.

 

  

A teaching moment during the intervention module…

 

This sequence depicts the moment just after the impact of the Thai kick cuts through Alban’s mobility and base…

 

Here is another example of the Thai kick intervention…

 

Another tactic of rear intervention that we looked at comes via the rear face/head control takedown. Again attacking from the flank or the rear, this a method tested from experience with great success both for me and for several of my students who work within the field of door security… From a flanked or rear position use both hands to grab either side of the subject’s head/face from behind, then control the head back and down for a fast takedown.  The level of threat will in many cases dictate the level of force you employ; this applies right across the board of course with any tactic or hard skill you use. In this example if the level of threat was quite low, you might just simply smother the face with the inside of both forearms and rag the subject down to the floor, along with the use of calming verbal commands. This is often taught to hospital orderlies working with mentally disturbed patients. If you find yourself dealing with a higher threat level, the situation may require a little softening up, one example is by employing a slapping strike with both hands, to both sides of the head as you make contact and control the head back.

 

Here we see the officers practicing the head control as a means of third party intervention…

 

The subject is taken to the ground and then restrained to a position of compliance…

Module six; had us take a look at the UK law in relation to the use of the  pre-emptive strike, where there is a clear force to threat parallel and such a level of force is both relevant and applicable. First we looked at Tools & Targeting, leaning where ever possible, towards a lower level of force striking option. The following Hard Skill options were demonstrated and practiced for impact on the pads with a training partner.

1.       The slap low level of force variations

2.       The Palm strike as above

3.       The Elbow strike primary targeting to the body & limbs

4.       The forearm strike as a transition into the head hold

5.       Knee strike to thigh/groin

6.       Pivot kick shove to kick & from fence inside/outside thigh

Module seven; looked at my favourite topic of the day, the Transition from empty hands to less than lethal alternative weapons (KIT)  i.e. CS gas and the telescopic Baton or Asp. Here the focus was on integrating and branching skills. I know from my conversations with  the hosting officer of this event, that the employment of CS gas or the Baton are regarded as an equal use of force option, in that the officer has no graduated response from empty hand skills or restraint into use of such KIT. The necessity of its use is left to the officer’s own judgment in the moment.  Here, my focus on such employment looked at, ‘’what if the weapon fails?’’ Can you branch immediately to another skill? Finally what about weapon retention? Do you have the skills to prevent attempted weapon access from your KIT belt, via the aggressive subject you happen to be dealing with?

Example of some of the KIT employed by the MET; in this example a Ballistic Vest…

The first drill looked at operating from Close Quarters, via the employment of a lead Palm strike or spiked elbow as you access the weapon and create space. From here you make the transition to verbal commands and if necessary to the progression of impact.  Such access and deployment is applicable to CS gas, Baton & a Firearm where applicable.

The above pictures depict access and deployment of the Baton and here, of the CS gas…

 

It was here that we made the transition to both empty hand skills, along with gaining an understanding of the principle of Branching. Anyone within the Combatives fraternity will be familiar with this term; it simply means that if any particular skill fails, then it is futile and fool hardy to continue trying to make that same skill work, instead one should BRANCH to another skill, in order to maintain the initiative. One example employed here was, if your Baton fails to open or your CS gas fails to work or stop the subject, then Branch skill, by HITTING HIM WITH THE CAN OF CS OR, WITH THE CLOSED BATON! Here of course, we are working off the premise that the tool has failed, you had GOOD reason to deploy it in the first place and the subject is now closing fast, hell-bent on your destruction. Here the striking option is geared for use by a police officer within the confines of his/her moral and legal boundaries, therefore the suggestion was to strike once, then move off the attack line n order to re-assess the situation.

Here the officer strikes with a lead open palm for access and deployment…

 

The CS gas fails to stop the simulated subject who now closes on the officer; this is now met with the transition to striking.

 

Here we see the same skill employed to the Baton, which in this case fails to open; subject closes as officers Branches to impactive striking with the butt end of the closed Baton…

 

Here we see some additional examples of weapon access and deployment, as the officers practice this transitional drill with a partner on FIST training impact shields.

 

 

 

The final element in this module related to Weapon Retention; namely what are your options if an attempt is made towards your KIT belt and weapon retention is gained. Our options here focused on Striking nearest target with closest weapon, example; Palm strike to the face, as we simultaneously seize the holding arm in place. From here, we can Hammer-fist the holding limb to break grip then branch to next skill i.e. restraint into handcuffing/Takedown to ground control/Striking option/transition to less than lethal weapon.

 

This sequence depicts simultaneously striking as we seize the holding limb in place, then breaking the grip with an edge of hand blow to the forearm…before making the transition to a less than lethal weapon access…

 

 

 

This final sequence of photos depicts this drill with an officer wearing part of his operational KIT…

 

Here he traps and strikes simultaneously, thereby creating a significant effect from the very first motion. From here the officer creates space as he deploys his Baton along with assertive verbal commands…

 

This bought an end to what was nothing less than a brilliant day, for all the guys and girls that took part as well as for me as an instructor and my assistant instructor, London based Alban Balliu. All that remains if for me to thank the organizer Graham, along with everyone who took part as well as thanking Alban for all his help making this a great training event. I sincerely look forward to doing more with the MET in the future.

Peace LM…