Public events safety addressed by 9th International Law Enforcement Forum

By A'ndrea Elyse Messer
April 24, 2013

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Representatives from Canada, Guyana, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States attended the 9th International Law Enforcement Forum at Penn State, April 16-18, 2013.

The Forum's workshop focused on "Protecting the Public, Protecting the Protector," giving special attention to improving safety at major public events, particularly after the Boston Marathon bombing. Participants considered such innovations as social media and a range of new technologies being evaluated in Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Another highlight was Canadian medical researcher Christine Hall's study findings regarding uses of force by selected law enforcement services in Canada. Her research has allowed Canadian, U.S. and U.K. law enforcement to develop a better understanding about where the real issues are with respect to police use of force. Her statistical analysis provides valuable insight that can and will alter approaches to training, tactics and policy. The study is expected to be published in the near future.

Begun in 1999, the International Law Enforcement Forum promotes minimal force options in policing in keeping with United Nations basic principles, which also call for "the development of non-lethal incapacitating weapons for use in appropriate situations." In early 2000s, the Forum's recommendations led to improved use of less-lethal weapons in Northern Ireland and across the U.K. The Forum's recommendations for standardized development and testing of such weapons were subsequently adopted by national governments.

The International Law Enforcement Forum provides "an opportunity for international learning," said the Forum's chair, Colin Burrows.

In this respect, the Forum fills an important need. In a globalized world, local and relatively autonomous law enforcement services face issues crossing jurisdictions and national borders. Deputy Chief Constable Simon Chesterman, who is United Kingdom's Association of Chief Police Officers lead on police use of less lethal technologies, highlighted the fact that this year's forum brought together over a thousand years of collective experience from a range of law enforcement and other specialties to focus on the issues discussed.

The International Law Enforcement Forum enables the sharing of best practices by practitioners, policy makers, researchers, medical experts and technologists

The 9th International Law Enforcement Forum Workshop had representatives from the U.S. National Tactical Officers Association, the UK's Association of Chief Police Officers, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The Forum was conducted by the Institute for Non-Lethal Defense Technologies and the Applied Research Laboratory, Penn State. For more information on the Forum see

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Last Updated April 25, 2013