Non-lethal weapons at the UPPs

Friday, April 16, 2021

by Priscila Marotti (text and pictures)

Non-lethal weapons are the landmark of a new phase in the relationship between the Pacifier Police Unit (UPP) officers and the residents of the communities where they are present. Last Wednesday (15/04) the soldiers started the training that will qualify them to use low “non-deadly armament”, which is how the corporation calls it. After this training, the officers will be able to handle conflict situations inside the community even better. The main goal is to have only 10% of the force in each UPP using riffles after the unit has undergone a period of adaptation.

During the training officers will learn how to use the Taser (electroshock weapon), rubber bullets and pepper spray. They also simulate situations in which dialogue and the use of non-lethal weapons could be necessary. Twenty four soldiers – four from each UPP – are undergoing the training.

“We’re teaching these officers a new way of acting inside the communities, so they can use their strength in a balanced an professional way. This armament will be used in small incidents and petty thefts, which are the most common disruptions in these places after the UPP arrives,” explained Lieutenant-Colonel Robson Rodrgues da Silva, commandant of the conflict battalion (Batalhão de Polícia de Choque) and the man responsible for the course.

One of the first students to take the course, officer Flávio Cézar, from Santa Marta’s UPP, should start using the equipment next week.

“Nowadays, the use of non-lethal weapons is very important. With the traffic removed, conflicts are relatively less frequent, less grave: usually a husband-and-wife or husband-and-son fight. In these cases, the use of firearms, besides intimidating to the residents, is no longer necessary,” he believes.

According to the Security Secretary, the idea is to gradually substitute the rifles for carbines.

“If our goal is to break the paradigm of only being able to control the territory by the use of war armament, we, as representatives of the state, can gradually reduce the number of riffles,” he concludes.

Next week officers from Santa Marta should start using the new weapons.


Alicia Keys at Santa Marta