Behind the scenes: What it takes to put down a prison riot

The Singapore Prisons Emergency Action Response (Spear) Force reacts to a mock prison riot.
During the riot, the rowdy "inmates" - played by prison officers - lock the doors and barricade themselves in a prison workshop. A Spear Force ground commander discusses the plan for intervention with officers at the scene and the Crisis Support Team
The Spear Force team moves out from the assembly area carrying special equipment, such as covert camera probes to spy on the rioters and a compressed air cylinder to pressurise their launchers or pistols if needed.ST PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF
During the riot, the rowdy "inmates" - played by prison officers - lock the doors and barricade themselves in a prison workshop. A Spear Force ground commander discusses the plan for intervention with officers at the scene and the Crisis Support Team
During the riot, the rowdy "inmates" - played by prison officers - lock the doors and barricade themselves in a prison workshop. ST PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF
During the riot, the rowdy "inmates" - played by prison officers - lock the doors and barricade themselves in a prison workshop. A Spear Force ground commander discusses the plan for intervention with officers at the scene and the Crisis Support Team
A Spear Force ground commander discusses the plan for intervention with officers at the scene and the Crisis Support Team.ST PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF
During the riot, the rowdy "inmates" - played by prison officers - lock the doors and barricade themselves in a prison workshop. A Spear Force ground commander discusses the plan for intervention with officers at the scene and the Crisis Support Team
The Spear Force team barges into the barricaded prison workshop, armed with non-lethal pistols and launchers that fire pellets. ST PHOTO: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF

Tactical gear, on-site intelligence and coordination with ground commanders all play a part

It took an elite tactical team just 30 seconds to quell the prison "riot".

Despite how little time it took to restore order, a lot of coordination went into ensuring the success of the mission.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2019, with the headline 'What it takes to put down a prison riot'. Print Edition | Subscribe