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  • Writer's pictureSam Wilks

The effective techniques and tools security crowd controllers use to disperse aggressive Mobs


Security, whether it is the security of nations, communities, or individual establishments, relies on the prudent management of crowds to maintain peace and order. The challenge intensifies manifold when these crowds turn aggressive and potentially violent. The role of security personnel in such scenarios is crucial, and their actions can be the difference between chaos and control.

When discussing the techniques and tools employed by security crowd controllers to disperse aggressive mobs, it is essential to recognize that most crowds act lawfully and do not pose a threat. However, when they do, a strategic approach rooted in a deep understanding of human behaviour and the dynamics of crowds is required.

The foundation of crowd control is predicated on the idea that individuals in mobs act under influences that might diminish their personal responsibility. Security crowd controllers must, therefore, not only be prepared to deal with individuals but also understand the collective psyche of the mob they are trying to manage.

Effective techniques employed by security personnel are diverse but must begin with de-escalation. Verbal persuasion, a non-confrontational stance, and an understanding demeanor can go a long way in diffusing the tension. It is a technique emphasizing the importance of awareness and preemptive action in neutralizing threats.

Some of the techniques we use include, but are not limited to: Communication: Using clear, calm, and authoritative communication to inform the crowd of what is expected of them.

  1. De-escalation: Engaging with potential agitators to calm tensions and prevent the escalation of conflict.

  2. Negotiation: Identifying and negotiating with leaders or influential members within the crowd to facilitate peaceful dispersal.

  3. Barriers: Erecting physical barriers to guide crowds away from sensitive areas or to contain their movement.

  4. Diversion: Creating alternative attractions or distractions to draw people away from the area where dispersal is required.

  5. Visible Presence: Establishing a strong, visible security presence to deter potential escalations.

  6. Area Closure: Gradually closing off the area to new entrants, reducing the crowd size naturally as people leave.

  7. Controlled Exit Strategies: Managing the flow of people by directing them towards safe exits to avoid panic.

  8. Crowd Monitoring: Using surveillance to monitor crowd behavior and detect signs of unrest early.

  9. Selective Intervention: Identifying and removing individuals who are instigating violence or unrest, without engaging with the crowd at large.

  10. Use of Lights: Using bright lights to disorient the crowd during night time or to highlight exit paths.

  11. Sound Devices: Employing acoustic devices to emit sounds that are unpleasant and encourage people to disperse.

  12. Information Dissemination: Providing real-time information about the situation to prevent the spread of rumours and calm the crowd.

  13. Coordination with Emergency Services: Working closely with police, fire, and medical services to ensure a coordinated response to any incidents.

  14. Evacuation Drills: Conducting regular evacuation drills to ensure the crowd is familiar with emergency procedures.

  15. Mediation Teams: Deploying trained mediators to resolve conflicts and reduce tensions within the crowd.

In cases where verbal strategies fall short, crowd controllers must resort to more direct measures. This is where advocating for the strategic positioning of personnel and the use of barriers to direct or restrict the flow of the crowd. The objective is to guide the crowd away from potential flashpoints and to contain the situation without resorting to force.

When the use of force becomes inevitable, it must be measured, lawful, and aligned with the principles of self-defense and the defense of others. Justifiable force in Australia must meet 3 elements, it must be necessary, reasonable and proportionate. This is where many academics without any experience create contention in the courtroom and in public opinion.

It is easy to explain that if someone has a knife and you use a baton to defend yourself, and the offender dies, that it is self-defense. However, many lawyers and barristers seem to have fallen for the narrative of Jackie Chan Movies where when a person is confronted by three or more offenders they will attack you consecutively and one at a time. That is pure fantasy. Most attacks from multiple offenders are in unison at the same time. The chances of being crippled or killed are substantially higher than even an encounter with a knife. This is why when dealing with multiple offenders any "use of force" trainer will defend the use of "lethal" force as a means of survival.

When dealing with one offender, we stress the importance of proportionality and restraint in such scenarios. Tools such as pepper spray, batons, or water cannons by police personnel, and in certain cases security personnel, are employed with the dual intent of discouraging aggression and ensuring the safety of both the crowd and the personnel involved.

Technology plays an increasingly significant role in modern crowd-control strategies. Surveillance systems offer a real-time assessment of the situation, allowing for prompt and informed decisions. The use of drones, for instance, can offer an aerial perspective, giving controllers a strategic advantage.

However, it is not just about the physical management of crowds. The psychological aspect is equally important. The presence of authority figures in uniform can have a subduing effect on an unruly mob. The impact of visible deterrents, such as security cameras, guard dogs, and guards, can induce voluntary compliance.

In preparing security personnel for these challenging situations, training plays a pivotal role.The training should be comprehensive, encompassing both physical tactics and the legal knowledge required to operate within the bounds of the law. Security trainers agree that the simulation of real-life scenarios in training can prepare crowd controllers for the unpredictable nature of mob behaviour.

The dispersal of violent and aggressive mobs by security personnel is a multifaceted operation that demands a blend of psychological acumen, physical readiness, legal knowledge, and technological assistance. The techniques and tools that are used must be adaptable, proportionate, and, above all, aimed at minimizing harm and restoring order with the least amount of force necessary.

As security trainers, the goal is not merely to prepare security personnel for confrontation but to equip them with the skills to prevent it. It is through this comprehensive preparation that security crowd controllers can make a definitive and positive impact in managing aggressive mobs. From the author.


The opinions and statements are those of Sam Wilks and do not necessarily represent whom Sam Consults or contracts to. Sam Wilks is a skilled and experienced Security Consultant with almost 3 decades of expertise in the fields of Real estate, Security, and the hospitality/gaming industry. His knowledge and practical experience have made him a valuable asset to many organizations looking to enhance their security measures and provide a safe and secure environment for their clients and staff.

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