Today we ate a proper English breakfast out our hotel, I was not overly impressed with it. The sausage was good, but I was not a fan of the bacon. They put a much larger emphasis on their breakfast over here. Our scheduled event for the day was meeting Constable Richard Watson of the London Metropolitan Police Force. I would have to say it was the most interesting thing we have done so far. The security tactics they take here are much different than in the United States.
The first thing that I want to point out is the security cameras all over the city. Every street in the United Kingdom is monitored by cameras attached to street lights or attached to poles. They are always connected to a control station at the police departments. From there the department can monitor what is taking place on the streets and plan accordingly. When we first met Constable Watson, who has quite the sense of humor, he took us down a couple flights of stairs to the special operation room. It is the biggest of its kind in the world. There are three sections to the main room where many pods can be manned by workers. From there communication takes place during events and it is used on a daily basis. While we were there we could see cars driving by on the streets and people talking. This made me think that if we were constantly monitored in the United States how paranoid and upset everyone would be. Constable Watson responded to this by saying what one would think, "Why be worried if you aren't doing anything wrong?" In addition to the pods in the large room were rooms for silver and gold ranked officers. The system can be somewhat confusing, but essentially gold ranked officers are in charge of setting up events. The silver ranked officers relay those commands to the bronze ranked officers that are out on the streets observing events. In his time Constable Watson has worked events from simple riots all the way up to Olympic events held in London a few years ago. In a another post to come I will address gun control in the United Kingdom and how they can effectively do their job without guns.
After that we enjoyed a drink at the Sherlock Holmes pub and I actually tried a local beer called Peroni. From Italy, more local than the United States. This tasted pretty good, so I am opening my horizons and getting closer every time to ordering a cider. After that the justice studies group went to a smaller Italian restaurant where I had a wonderful pizza. The eating customs here are much different than back home as I assumed they would be. I will address those differences once I experience them more.