《经济学人》:平息暴乱,英国警方遭猛烈抨击
日期:2011-08-19 10:48

(单词翻译:单击)

Policing the mobs
平息暴乱

Under fire
英国警方遭猛烈抨击

The police stand accused of allowing mayhem to go unchecked
任由暴乱升级,警方遭猛批

Aug 13th 2011 | from the print edition

Trying to catch up
英国警方正在努力跟上变化节奏

AFTER five days of spreading Saturnalian anarchy on the streets of English cities, the disgust and anger felt for the rioters was accompanied by growing dismay at the failure of the police to get on top of the violent thuggery in some places. In violated towns and cities, there was angry incomprehension at the apparent willingness of armoured police to stand back while shops were pillaged and torched by marauding youths.

混乱狂欢般在英国数座城市蔓延了五天之后,人们对混乱制造者感到憎恶和气愤之余,也开始对个别地区警方无力控制暴乱局势感到失望。某些骚乱城镇,暴乱的年轻人对店铺疯狂地砸抢烧,而开着装甲车的警察分明就是束手旁观,这让人们感到气愤与无法理解。

A poll conducted by YouGov for the Sun newspaper reflected the widespread belief that the police had got their tactics wrong. Of those questioned, 90% favoured the use of water cannon; 78% tear gas; 72% Tasers (an electroshock weapon); 65% plastic bullets; 33% even wanted the police to use live ammunition against the looters. And 77% wanted the army to be deployed.

《太阳报》发布了调查机构“优戈夫”(YouGov)进行的一项民意调查,调查结果显示,人们普遍认为警方处理暴乱时策略失当。被调查者中,90%认为应使用高压水枪,78%赞成使用催泪弹,72%赞成泰瑟枪(一种防暴电击枪),65%赞成塑料子弹,33%甚至认为警方应该荷枪实弹制止暴乱。另外,有77%希望调用军队。

The criticism of the police is understandable, but is it justified? Most experts doubt whether the use of traditional riot-control weapons would have made much difference this week. Although water cannon and tear gas can be effective in getting a large mob to disperse from a particular area, or in allowing the police to “buy distance” or hold ground, they are indiscriminate and fairly clumsy. Tasers are not a public-order weapon—they cannot be fired into crowds—but a non-lethal method of individual incapacitation.

人们对警方批评可以理解,但这对警方是否公平?多数专家认为即使本周暴乱中警方使用传统抗暴手段也不会起太大作用。虽然高压水枪和催泪弹可以驱散某一场所的大批暴动者,可以让暴动者稍微退后或者让警方守住阵地,但两者都有可能伤及无辜,并且非常笨重。泰瑟枪不能用来对付大片人群,因而不是用来维护公共秩序的工具,只是对付个别歹徒的非致命性武器。

Martin Innes, of the Universities Police Science Institute at Cardiff University, says that water cannon would not be much use against the kind of “fluid, highly mobile satellite groups” that the police have faced. Both he and Peter Waddington, a former policeman and now an authority on crowd control at Wolverhampton University, are sceptical about plastic bullets (or baton rounds as the police call them). Mr Waddington says that the trouble with baton rounds, which travel at nearly twice the speed of a cricket ball delivered by a fast bowler, is that they can be dodged, leaving them to smash into other people. “Hit an 11-year-old girl in the head,” he says, “and there is all hell to pay.”

卡迪夫大学警务调查及培训组织(UPSI)的马丁•因尼斯(Martin Innes)认为,警方面对的暴动人群“不固定地点,不停流动,呈卫星状”,高压水枪不会其多大作用。彼得•沃丁顿(Peter Waddington)原来担任警察,现在是伍尔弗汉普顿大学公众秩序控制方面的专家。他和马丁对塑料子弹(警方称之为“防暴子弹”)的作用均持怀疑态度。沃丁顿认为,防暴子弹问题在于其速度仅为一个板球手快速投球速度的两倍,子弹能够躲开,有可能射到其他人。他说:“有个11岁的小女孩就被误伤到头部,警察有的赔了。”

Both water cannon and baton rounds have now been made available to the police, but they have shown little appetite for employing either. They have, however, started to make greater use of armoured vehicles to break up crowds. As for calling on the army for help, that is something that the police, politicians and the army itself regard as almost unimaginable.

如今警方已获准使用高压水枪和防暴子弹,但警方似乎并没怎么打算使用,反而开始越来越多地使用装甲车来驱散人群。至于寻求军方援助,警方、政客们甚至军方都觉得是不可想象的。

But if the police are right to be cautious over the use of crowd-control weapons, they seem to have been slow to react in other ways. Mike Waldren, a retired chief superintendent who formerly ran London’s firearms unit, blames senior officers at Scotland Yard, fearful of being charged with overreacting, for hobbling commanders on the ground. According to some reports, riot police had initially been ordered to “stand and observe” rather than confront rioters. Mr Innes says that, with a few exceptions (principally those who have served in Northern Ireland), there is now a generation of police leaders whose only experience of public-order problems involves football hooliganism and planned political demonstrations that turn violent.

不过,即使警方对于选择何种武器控制暴乱人群的谨慎态度是正确的,他们在其他方面的反应也还是迟钝了些。现已退休的伦敦枪支库前负责人麦克•沃德仁(Mike Waldren)谴责伦敦警察厅高层警官因为怕被指责反应过激而限制了现场警察的防暴行动。有些报道称,警察一开始接到是“暂不行动,观察事态”的命令而不是让他们制止暴动。因尼斯说,除了少数几个警长(大部分是曾在被爱尔兰服过役的)外,现在的警官所遇到过的公共秩序问题只不过是像足球流氓行为和本应有序的政治游行中发生的暴力事件而已。

In their defence, this week’s disturbances were of a new, if not wholly unexpected, kind. The police’s old tactical manual is based on two principles that were suddenly irrelevant. The first is the assumption that rioters want to attack the police themselves. It makes things a lot easier if you know that they will be where you are. The second is that the main objective is to control ground rather than people. But now, Mr Innes points out, the police have to find “flash mobs” who use social media to gather and grab loot in one place, disperse, then meet somewhere else: “You have to follow them, harry them and channel them away.”

但话又说回来,本周暴动即便不是完全出乎意料,其类型也是前所未有的。警方原来的抗暴策略是建立在两点原则之上的,而现在这两点突然不适用了。第一,警方设想暴乱者的攻击目标是警察本身。若你在哪暴动者就会在哪,那就好办多了。第二,警察主要任务是守住阵地而非控制骚乱人群。因尼斯指出,现在暴乱者利用社交媒体聚集人群,在一处砸抢之后马上分散,再到另一处聚集,警方必须找到这些“快闪”暴众。“你得跟着他们,阻止他们,然后将其疏散。”

The problem with that approach is that when looters are chased, they split up and police resources are dissipated. Even if officers catch and arrest one (tying up at least two policemen who may be needed elsewhere), they might only be able to charge him (or her) with a minor disorder offence.

这种方法的问题在于,暴徒被追赶时会分散,警力也随之分散。即使警察逮到暴动者(至少两名警员,而且其他现场可能还需要警员),并将其拘留,也只能给其定个扰乱社会治安的小罪。

Mr Waddington thinks that the police may have been right to rely mostly on CCTV cameras and their own photographers to gather evidence, with the aim of nabbing culprits later in their own homes with the stolen goods in their possession. As long as rioters are part of a street mob they feel strong and invulnerable. Once individuals are arrested in large numbers (well over 1,000 had been by the time The Economist went to press), powerful peer networks and the groupthink that goes with them can be broken.

沃丁顿认为,警方主要依靠闭路电视摄像和警署摄影师来采集证据也许是正确的,这样可以随后在暴动者家中将其逮捕,并连同抢劫来的物品一起缴获。暴动者在一大群人中会觉得自己实力强大,一旦有大批人一个个被逮捕(截至本刊出版时,被捕人数远不止1000),原本强大的团体连同集体盲目看法都会崩溃。

If that is right, the rioting is unlikely to be stamped out by rounding up the feral mobs and giving them a good hiding, popular though that might be. Rather the key is to demonstrate through the courts that their behaviour brings with it serious and long-term personal consequences.

如果以上言之有理,对这些肆无忌惮的暴动者仅通过逮捕拘留来让他们改过是很难平息暴动的——尽管这种看法非常普遍。相反,应让法院告诉他们,其行为情节非常严重,会给个人带来长远不利影响,这才是解决问题的关键。

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重点单词
  • apparentadj. 明显的,表面上的
  • widespreadadj. 分布(或散布)广的,普遍的
  • understandableadj. 可理解的,能够懂的
  • indiscriminateadj. 无差别的,不分皂白的,杂陈的
  • reactvt. 作出反应 vi. 起反应,起作用,反攻
  • disgustn. 厌恶,嫌恶 v. 令人厌恶
  • peern. 同等的人,同辈,贵族 vi. 凝视,窥视
  • arrestvt. 逮捕,拘留 n. 逮捕,拘留 vt. 阻止
  • objectiveadj. 客观的,目标的 n. 目标,目的; 物镜 n.
  • appetiten. 嗜好,食欲,欲望