This video is why our police officers need to learn the art of self-defence

Published: January 13, 2016
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Recently, a brawl broke out between a citizen and a group of traffic police officers at the busy PIDC intersection in Karachi. Initially, media reports painted the citizen as a victim who had been subjected to police torture. Civil society and political activists joined the bandwagon as well and the perpetrator was released after a brief detention period.

Later on, when the CCTV footage was released, it showed a completely different picture where a law enforcer was seen approaching a citizen instructing him to move his motorcycle away from the no-parking zone. After a very brief exchange of words, the deranged individual initiated a fistfight by punching the cop right in his face and throwing him down to the ground. It took four policemen and a Rangers officer to subdue the burly former navy employee and take him into custody.

Internationally, law enforcement officers may use whatever force is reasonably necessary to affect an arrest or protect themselves (or others) from imminent harm. This is the rule of thumb and is widely practiced in developed countries. A law enforcer is supposed to protect him/her self and others before making his move to disarm or subdue an attacker.

As part of routine training, police officers are taken through courses involving self-defence, basic first-aid/CPR, domestic violence, patrol procedures/techniques, health and fitness etc. Internationally, the law says that if a law enforcer feels that an individual is approaching him/her with intentions of causing any kind of harm, s/he is authorised to use all means necessary to control the situation. This could also involve using a fire arm for self-protection.

There are several non-lethal gadgets including tasers (a weapon firing barbs attached by wires to batteries, causing temporary paralysis), pepper sprays, batons, etc. that are routinely used by police officers to subdue and capture a deranged individual without causing any serious physical injury.

What can our police authorities do?

– Perform frequent health and fitness checks on our police officers.

– Arrange frequent refresher courses in self-defence and first aid.

– Equip and train the law enforcers (including traffic police) in using the following non-lethal gadgets.

Pepper sprays

Pepper sprays are used in policing, riot control, crowd control, and personal self-defence, including defence against dogs and bears. Its inflammatory effects cause the eyes to close and it obstructs vision temporarily. This temporary blindness permits people using pepper sprays for self-defence as the perfect opportunity to escape and allows officers to restrain subjects easily.

Taser guns

A taser fires two small dart-like electrodes, which stay connected to the main unit by conductors in order to deliver electric current to disrupt the voluntary control of muscles causing neuromuscular incapacitation. Tasers were introduced as non-lethal weapons for the police to use in order to subdue fleeing, belligerent, or potentially dangerous people, who would have otherwise been subjected to more lethal weapons such as firearms.

Flexi cuffs (plastic handcuffs)

Plastic handcuffs are a form of physical restraint for the hands, using plastic straps. They function as handcuffs but are cheaper and easier to carry as compared to metal handcuffs.

Batons

A baton is essentially a club of less than arm’s length made of wood, rubber, plastic or metal. They are carried for forced compliance and self-defence by law-enforcement officers.

With the above mentioned equipment, a law enforcer won’t have to get into a royal rumble with a perpetrator and would rather use one of these gadgets to smoothly subdue and arrest a violent individual.

What we saw at the traffic intersection at PIDC was complete failure on part of our police trainers. With a little more focus on fitness levels and self-defence techniques the police higher ups can save the entire department from such embarrassing situations in the future.

Arsalan Faruqi

Arsalan Faruqi

An entrepreneur with a degree in computer engineering and an MBA from IBA Karachi. He tweets as @arsalanfaruqi (twitter.com/arsalanfaruqi)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Humza

    The individual who attacked the police should be thrown in jail and everyone should understand the consequences of beating up law enforcement personal, The guy who attacked the policeman is yet another expression of the sick VIP culture where people think that laws apply to others but not to themselves. Hence he was indignant when asked to move his illegally parked bike and didn’t think anything of attacking a traffic warden. Anywhere else in the world, courts would charge this guy severely and lock him away. I hope law enforcement officers start using video cams for everything to expose all instances of people behaving live VIPs above the law. I am sure the majority of the complaints against the police and traffic are just like this.Recommend

  • Malaikah

    Why did the news initially say that the ‘poor man’ was beaten by the traffic wardens, reality they were just defending themselves from a demented individual. We need to subdue our fascination of blaming the police. The man can eventually be seen dramatizing towards the end when caught.Recommend

  • Hisham

    Kudos to the navy dude for punching the daylights out of that parasite. Most of us have to bribe these people to get of our backs.Recommend

  • jojo

    One of the rangers personal in the end of the video snatched the phone from one of the bystanders who was recording the incident then traffic police officer took it from him and threw it on the ground breaking the phone, this is why there is an anger against them in the public, they just do not give any respect to the people, A common citizen is like a chewing gum in-front of the law and reinforcement agencies whose salaries are paid from our taxes.Recommend

  • Asad Shairani

    This is a one-off incident where the public (initially) got the better of the traffic police. In the majority of the cases, it is the public who is the victim of their harassment, incompetence, and often violence. Before they are taught self defense, they should be taught the job they are supposed to do and held accountable for their crimes and incompetence!Recommend

  • Parvez

    When an SUV with a ‘ green ‘ number plate stops in the middle of the road ( I have seen this many a time ) and the bara sab’s ‘ begum ‘ steps out and simply brings traffic to a creeping pace, until she decides to get back in again………is there a policeman in Karachi with the backbone to stop her….. I think not.Recommend

  • maz3tt

    police can go wrong way. why can’t i!? i was very happy seeing this video..Recommend

  • Sidster

    Killing a Police officer or traffic police personnel is an attack on Society. If you do not u understand that concept than you must live in a jungle. Recommend

  • Sidster

    Did you see any common citizen came for the aid of traffic police officer. The officer is unarmed and is not well trained. Recommend

  • Imran Supariwala

    A private silver car is already parked at this location so clearly this is not a issue of “NO PARKING” zone or either traffic police is favoring the car owner coz he is rich and/or maybe he might have paid some money to traffic guy for parking. Secondly traffic police guy must have said something seriously infuriating that lead to navy guy loose his temper otherwise nobody punches a traffic policewala even if they demand illegal bribes for stupid things. Audio is missing from CCTV footage.

    Other traffic policemen came out and is pointing finger towards something,if it had been no parking then he too would have stopped navy guy from parking his bike but he didn’t stopped him,instead 2nd traffic guy wearing helmet came from behind and said something seriously offensive that lead to this brawl.

    Traffic department should teach its force some manners on how to deal with public.Recommend

  • herring

    Kudos to the navy dude for punching the daylights out of that parasite. Most of us have to bribe these people to get of our backs.

    CCTV camera manufacturer chinaRecommend

  • Mir

    A navy employee on a motorbike is a VIP. I suppose a man with a car is Super VVIP and someone with a SUV is Super Duper Duper VVVVIP and someone with armed guards is ….. you got the point!Recommend

  • Humza

    I don’t think you get the point. The fellow behaves like a VIP regardless of what he drives or how much money he has. That’s why he shamelessly attacked a traffic warden. He was asked to move his illegally parked motorcycle and is offended that he should be told to do so. He thinks he is above the law. Like many citizens, he thinks laws and rules are for others but not for him. He thinks he is above the law or some VIP. This is the issue afflicting Muslim societies where we talk about equality but everyone points fingers at others and acts as if it doesn’t apply to them.Recommend

  • Patwari

    What police? Where? You mean the thugs in police uniforms?
    Who are worse than the criminals themselves! Who are involved
    in about every crime conceivable. Who BUY their jobs. And then have
    to make their own salary plus bhatta for the ‘higher ups’ who hired them.
    It is YOU who is naive. And have NO idea what you are talking about.
    You follow?Recommend

  • Patwari

    Because police are NOT regarded as PROTECTORS of the people.
    They DO NOT serve the people. The people regard the police as
    criminals. If you go to file an FIR, the policemen want a bribe, to do
    their duty, this simple DUTY.
    Have you been living under a rock?
    You follow?Recommend

  • Rehan Ali

    We live in a Jungle alright and hyenas (POLICE) keep poaching our week and vulnerable.Recommend

  • Rehan Ali

    The commoners were rejoicing because the hyenas were getting what they deserve.Recommend

  • Rehan Ali

    This would soon be a routine as Police excesses keep on increasing. There would be a time when these RASHIS wouldn’t find a refuge from their constant victims, the citizens.Recommend

  • Bibloo

    Where is your tent pitched? Somewhere in the comfort of a law abiding
    society in the West? “Law enforcement officers” where did you pick up
    this fancy jargon? In Gujranwala? Kasur? No. Not at all. This ‘aping’ the
    colloquial syntax is pathetic. In Punjab, they have the Model Town Massacre.

    The police shot and killed 16 unarmed, civilians. Peacefully protesting. On
    orders of Shahbaz Sharif and Sanaullah the law minister. Last year the police manhandled, and beat up nurses, who were protesting peacefully, in front of the CM House.for higher wages. [A pregnant nurse lost her baby.] This, on
    orders of Sanaullah, and his master Shahbaz. Sanaullah was fired to placate the masses. then quietly rehired, as law minister 5 months later.
    Anywhere in Model Town or Gulburg, the police set up an ‘adda’ [checkpost]
    If they see a couple in a car or a motorcycle they will pull you over. They want to see proof of marriage, it could be your sister getting a ride home. If you don’t have it, you have to pay them a bribe, to get away. Otherwise, Big Trouble is coming your way in the name of Sharia.
    So, Let’s not talk about the policing system in the West. Let’s talk about
    YOUR neck of the woods, in the Land of the Pure.Recommend

  • Bibloo

    Don’t forget the Christian couple, who were beaten,hanged,
    then pushed into a brick kiln, to burn. While the police stood
    and watched. Or the Ahmadis massacre, in Lahore. Where the
    police helped the mob, setting fire to houses, looting businesses,
    killing women and children and men. Yes, the police did nothing.
    Aided and abetted the rampaging mob….about 200 were killed.
    Everyone knows that the Punjab police is the personal security
    force/army of the Sharif Cabal.Recommend

  • Humza

    The terms law enforcement officers, police officers and traffic warden are also used in Pakistan and you’re close. Not Gujranwala nor Kasur but this common language and not “fancy jargon” as you say is used also by Sialkot natives ! The Model Town massacre as you describe it has more to do with a cleric who urged his followers to break laws and attack police. That’s why I call it the Model Town mob incident. The responsibility for the unfortunate deaths of violent protesters rests with the instigator which is why many argue Tahur Qadri should be charged. Protesting is a right but responsible protesting is another thing. As citizens we demand our rights but seldom do we remember our responsibilities. This is the challenge facing Muslim societies. I don’t dispute that there are instances of bad policing but had you been to Punjab recently you would know that the cities are relatively safe and progressing. I have never had to pay a bribe to police at an adda to get away because I understand security officials have a job to do. BTW, anyone who offers a bribe is just as guilty as the one who takes it. With videocams of everything and even on police vests, the truth should be exposed everywhere.Recommend

  • Bibloo

    Keep dreaming of these video monitors on vests when police
    don’t even HAVE vests! None supplied to them.
    Would not want to put, even a toe, in Punjab. Land of :-
    Le Jhangvi, Jaish e M, Jundullah, Le Taiba, Le Islam,
    ASWJ, Ahrar ul Hind, Burqa Mullah, [who is the Mureed
    of the Sharif Family] Punjab Taliban etc. Rampant corruption.
    And God knows what else.
    We in Hunza and Chitral do not use ‘law enforcement officers’

    or any other pseudo intellectual catch phrases. We stay with
    choicest earth bound definitions of police thugs in the lowlands.Recommend

  • Sidster

    Pay your Police officer well and do not interfere with Political pressure for your criminal friends. Recommend

  • Sidster

    Will you stand in protest when he is transferred away from his home due to a phone call from that Bara Shaib. Recommend

  • Sidster

    My Question to all who are commenting on Post.
    Is our ego’s are that Big that a person, who might be requesting or telling a person for a reason, not to Park his vehicle at a certain stop should be beaten as a wild boar? Recommend

  • Sidster

    You guys are morons. Why should a civilian have a right to drive in an opposite direction, when it is hazardous for other people. Recommend

  • Sidster

    Thank you for watching this video and writing without any Bias in regards to Police Officer in Karachi. Recommend