Today involved going to central London to tour the special operations room (SOR) in a different building belonging to the metropolitan police department, looked at the closed circuit TV's (cctv) system, sat in on a presentation from Sergeant Matt Andrews and participated in dojo training. His main topic of the presentation explained how the people that work in the SOR must remain calm, controlled, and professional when handling events and chaos. He mentioned three levels of operations: gold, silver, and bronze. Officers in the SOR gold level are in charge of the strategy behind the operation. Silver is in charge of tactics within the operation and bronze officers work in a specific area on the streets. The department must ask themselves what lessons they have learned once the situation is controlled to make themselves stronger as a department.
While looking at the cctv area of the department we learned that you are ALWAYS on camera when in the city. There are over 20,000 cameras in central London! Knowing that you are on camera everywhere you go is kind of creepy! They can zoom in and out to watch your every move. They even have cameras all over the building, which they watch in the same building (interesting). The thing is, the Londoners don't mind it. Their lifestyle is very different than what most people I know are use to. Everything from the underground tube rides which is compared to our subway system to even their toilets differ from the United States. Every time we use a new toilet we can never figure out how flush the toilet. London is a 24 hour city, it never stops.
In dojo training we learned officer tactics. Two trainers demonstrated tactics and we partnered up to practice the tactics on each other. We learned the standard defense stance, arm fighting tactics, leg fighting tactics, handcuffing and how to properly use CS spray which is there version of our pepper spray. They believe pepper spray is harmful and has a very slight chance of causing cancer. Pepper spray is oil based and lasts longer than CS spray. CS spray contains crystals that stuns the individual and must be blown off by the breeze. It was an amazing opportunity and I thank the trainers and Constable Richard Watson for the spending their day training us.