Counterterrorism Lectures

On Friday, we had the privilege of talking to Tony Walsh and Mark Brookes. Walsh and Brookes work for the Metropolitan Police Force and focus on counterterrorism measures to ensure the safety of all citizens in the UK. We learned that there are 43 police forces and 1 counterterrorism force in the UK. All officers in the UK carry chemical spray and a taser, but only 5% have a firearm in their possession.

We also looked at the ways in which they handle a terrorist attack in the UK. Most terrorist attacks fall into the substantial category meaning that there is a strong possibility that an attack will occur. In order to counteract these attacks they follow the 4 pillars. They prevent, pursue, protect, and prepare. They prevent attacks by looking at causes and trying to disengage any further activity. They pursue it by detecting and understanding the situation at hand. They protect their citizens in order to reduce the risk. They prepare themselves by ensuring they have the proper resources.

We also looked at the ways in which they try to negotiate with terrorists when they are dealing with a hostage crisis. Their first rule is that they can negotiate, but they do not make concessions meaning they do not give them ransom, change their laws, or follow demands such as releasing a terrorist member already imprisoned. They try to slow down the process by talking to them in order to get more information about their whereabouts and how to devise a plan to get the hostage released. This lecture opened my eyes to a new job path that I never thought about. I realized that the people who serve in the counterterrorism force are brave and I admire them for their courage.

Our Day in Court: Magistrates’ Court

Today, we went to the Highbury-Islington Magistrates’ Court. We had the honor of meeting two men who have been serving as magistrates for over 10 years. Their names were Tony Butler & Mark Oxemham. We learned that magistrates are people from the community who serve on a bench of three to hear cases in their community. Normally the magistrate who has been there the longest also known as the Presiding magistrate will sit in the middle. Their overall duty is to look at evidence and decide if the defendant is guilty or innocent. All cases start in magistrate courts such as this one so they hear cases about theft, terrorism, murder , domestic abuse, and much more. After learning about what they do we had the honor of listening to a few cases going on. We got to hear cases concerning thief, assault, and even verbal abuse. The procedure of the magistrates’ court allowed us to compare our justice system to theirs. Despite the differences, the main goal was to receive justice for all the victims involve. This day was very fun and enlightening. I’m so glad we had this opportunity!