Riot drills test prison security

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser
Albany Regional Prison security unit during the exercise.
Camera IconAlbany Regional Prison security unit during the exercise. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

A prison riot which led to a fire and a female warden being held hostage were among the three scenarios staged at Albany Regional Prison on Friday.

More than 150 prison officers were involved in training exercises to simulate real-life riot emergencies at regional WA’s only maximum-security prison.

Mock inmates eager to cause trouble.
Camera IconMock inmates eager to cause trouble. Credit: Albany Advertiser, Laurie Benson. Albany Advertiser

Commissioner for Corrective Services Tony Hassall said the exercise was essential to identify any gaps in security and possible training improvements.

“You never know what’s going to happen in a prison. It’s important that we test our plan and test our equipment,” he said.

One of the gaps identified during the training exercise was the necessity of employing a trained negotiator at the prison.

Albany Regional Prison security unit storm the hostage scene.
Camera IconAlbany Regional Prison security unit storm the hostage scene. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

“I’ve been speaking to the commissioner and he’s engaged me to communicate with the head office to make sure that we do get trained prison staff as a negotiator on site,” Albany Regional Prison Superintendent Charlie Tuck said.

Shotguns, tasers, tear gas and a handheld electrical chainsaw were used during the exercises.

Police, paramedics and firefighters were also involved.

Albany Regional Prison security unit.
Camera IconAlbany Regional Prison security unit. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Mr Tuck said it was a chance to test the prison’s new incident command facility, which he and Mr Hassall opened that day.

“The incident command facility does not actually stop incidents happening inside the jail, but what it does do is provide us information and let us have better decision making on the action that we take,” Mr Tuck said.

Albany Regional Prison security unit get into the laundry.
Camera IconAlbany Regional Prison security unit get into the laundry. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

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