Friday, May 27, 2011

Plains, Trains, and Thunderstorms

Our trip back to the States was long and delayed some due to nasty weather in Chicago but we eventually arrived in Denver around 1am Monday morning. The bus ride back to Chadron was sleepless for me but i sure enjoyed seeing the sun rise and was glad I didn't have tall buildings blocking my view. London was a great place to visit and I learned a great deal during my time there; I still say this trip was a 'once in a lifetime' trip. I would recommend it to anyone.

The last day

Saturday the 21st was spent trying to get in some of the things I had already seen and really like or those things I had not yet gotten to try. A group of us went to the British Museum for another look and then took the Tube over to Hyde Park for a relaxing picnic. After spending two weeks in London I really appreciate the peace offered in the many parks.

Saturday night we all met up at the Beefeater for a interesting dinner and after a couple of hours shouting at my own personal bar wench I was ready for sleep. i went back to the hotel and packed for the journey home.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Drop back 5 and punt!

The day was spent at Cambridge and what a beautiful place. I thought about taking a punt (small boat) out onto the Cam river but decided it could be hazardous to my health or the fish if I fell in. I walked the town and looked at the old colleges; I think I found the name Bogner scratched into the wall of Kings College but I could be mistaken. Bicycles were every where and they were dangerous. I found a shade tree and just sat by the river and watch the people and ducks float by, it was very relaxing.

Flames and Carnies in the Yard!

We had the special honor of standing inside the Buckingham Palace grounds during the changing of the guard Thursday morning. It was an experience I will not forget; thank you PC Watson for making it a possibility!

New Scotland Yard was our destination Thursday afternoon and it was really interesting. We were briefed by a Constable and a Sargent concerning Public Order issues in London. The first session dealt with the Olympic planning for the London games in 2012 and all the planning which was going into crowd control and security for the games.

Sear gent Eric Stuart discussed the planning for security for the Olympic torch and his experience during the last games. Both presentations were good but Sargent Stuart transitioned from discussing the torch into security issues for the annual Nottinghill Carnival. His presentation included video footage of past events and criminal activity as well as crowd safety concerns. Having a play by play description of the criminal events really added to the presentation. It is very apparent the MPS is well versed in handling huge crowds and events; it was a great learning experience.

The last presentation of the day came from PC Watson and words cannot adequately describe the powerful visuals he utilized to demonstrate differences between American and English police officers. My eyes are still burning!

Please rise!!

The morning began with a stop by the Magistrate Court of London. The Magistrate who provided the briefing was very proper and I felt more refined after 30 minutes in the room with him, a very proper gentleman. We were allowed to observe a couple of different court proceedings; one was overseen by a magistrate and the other by three JPs. Both were equally interesting and I enjoyed watching how the system played out in the courtroom. We even got to read some interesting graffiti which had something colorful to say about the judge on the wall of the public gallery. The rapid pace of the court was surprising and the Magistrate said it commonly takes the Magistrate court one hour to handle what it takes the Crown court to do in a day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hand to Hand and Hidden Cameras

We started our day at Central Command, the 999 call center for the Met Police Service. Had an interesting tour and saw where the operators handle service calls.

Next we walked about 75 miles over to a Met training center where we were taught about tactical communication (verbal judo) and then some of the students were allowed to beat the snot out of a senior police officer who was wearing the "angry man" suit with batons. Great fun was had by all!

Stopped by the British Museum on the way back and just scratched the surface, the place is amazing. I will attempt to go back before I leave. It was a busy day and I am ready for some Shepperd's pie.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

All things Five-O!

Today we had a steady diet of Metropolitan Police information. This morning we started off at the Metropolitan Central Training Center which is located in a very fancy office building which also houses a newspaper and other various businesses. Ironically, the Met. police service is paying millions of pounds rent on the building space when a number of police buildings currently set vacant due to budget cuts. It would appear the mentality of English and American politicians is frightening similar.

We had two veteran officers share some of their experiences while serving on the Met as well as some of the major changes which have taken place over the 20-30 years during which they have been police officers. Listening to them explain their training, and use or assignment of equipment or "kit", clearly demonstrated a great difference between American police mentality and that of the English policeman.

In the afternoon we traveled over to the Charing Cross Police Station and Constable R. Watson was our host. We were allowed to tour some of the facility as well as handle equipment and vehicles. The tour through the custody area went smoothly and I am pleased to report that no one was shanked.

A side note about Metropolitan Police Service and their donuts; they have better sweets than American cops. They don't get to carry firearms for the most part but they get much better donuts; it would be hard for me to decide which would be more desirable.

Hope some vid will be available soon but no promises. Cheers! (The use of vid and cheers is so English).