What goes on in the mind of a riot policeman: Be cool

What goes on in the mind of a riot policeman: Be cool

Being in a riot is like getting caught in a battlefield.

Some people get hurt, while others die.

This is why riot and crowd control experts say it is remarkable that last Sunday's riot in Little India did not result in major casualties.

Mr Jerry Harper, an American consultant and riot policeman trainer, calls the way local police handled the situation "excellent".

"That speaks volumes about the police's professionalism, despite their lack of prior experience with these tumultuous situations," says the 72-year-old, who was an undersheriff in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

But Mr Simon Yong, who served in the Singapore Police Force as an officer in charge of conducting anti-terrorist and anti-riot training in the 1980s, says that he was surprised that the Gurkha contingent was called in to deal with the situation.

"If the officers from the Special Operations Command unit arrived early in the situation, I estimate that about one troop of men would have been enough as each officer is trained to handle many at a time."

Still, the 63-year-old, who retired in 1996, says: "There may have been challenges which I was not aware of, having not been on the ground with them."

Anti-riot experts give The New Paper on Sunday a peek into what goes on in the mind of a riot policeman in the thick of action:

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