Friday, January 25, 2008

Urban Shield Personal Protection Workshop

Victoria School was priviledge to have a team of guest speakers come down to deliver a session on personal protection and crime awareness.
Our panel of speakers comprised of Mr Nigel Februrary, who has done research into criminal methodology in South Africa; Mr Lloyd de Jongh, who works in close protection and has been the bodyguard of celebrities like Wesley Snipes and even Bill Gates, and Mr Corey Perry a former US Marine.

Our guests came to deliver a concept known as the Urban Shield to our students to show how physical assault is only the 4th Stage in a long series of events. Urban Shield presents the crime scenario as follows:

INTENT - This is where the person crosses a normal mental boundary.
INTERVIEW - This is where the criminal decides if you are safe to attack.
POSITIONING - This is the criminal putting himself in a place where he can attack you.
ATTACK - The attack is the criminal using force, or the threat of force to get what he wants.
REACTION – The aftermath of the assault, and potentially the most dangerous stage
In their words "During the first three stages, if you know and understand the consistent methods and signs, you can prevent an attack without the use of violence. These are where the criminal (or violent person) decides whether or not he can get away with it safely. He may want to (INTENT), but if he doesn't have the opportunity (POSITION) he cannot succeed. In the same vein, he's going to make sure he can successfully use violence against you (INTERVIEW and POSITIONING) before he commits himself to act. Once he is sure of his ability to succeed and as put you in a position where he can quickly overwhelm you, he will attack."

Our presenters showed presented this concept to the audience and showed how easy it was for a criminal to gain the trust of an unsuspecting civilian by the following role-play:

It was a sobering fact that only 2 students out of the group of 50 plus had noticed their young female friend leave with a stranger out of the designated presentation area.

Our presenters role-played the scenario and show how a criminal tries to close in on his victims personal space to assess and access the potential success of his intented crime.

Our presenters then presented us with the most common manifestation of violent crime-a knife attack. They show students how criminals commonly use misdirection and deception to rob us of our awareness to make us vulnerable to their attacks.

We then explored how we could safetly define and demarcate our personal safety zone through non-threatening gestures and use of verbal cues. A simple 'Stop!' and question to discern the intent of someone approaching you often gives you an added safety barrier in terms of time and personal space:

Our students enjoyed the session alot with the fast paced presentation and hands-on demonstrations.
I think the part that they enjoyed most was when our presenters used me as a victim and role-played the various mugging scenarios that commonly happen in South Africa:
yes, yes boys, you know who you are.... I saw that gleeful look in all your eyes! You all loved it when poor Mr Siow got 'mugged'! I'm so hurt that none of you came to my rescue :(

We hope this workshop was reinforce in all our students the need to be safe and aware and that their personal safety lies in their own hands

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