SURGERY: Adam Brooks was attacked at NJAC in Birmingham
FOLLOWING NEWS that three men were stabbed during a church service last Sunday, people are asking if the church should be so ‘open’ and if they should provide security training to its frontline volunteers. Last Monday (September 11), a man entered New Jerusalem Apostolic Church (NJAC) in Aston, Birmingham, during its morning service and launched an unprovoked knife attack . Three members were injured in the incident Elder Karl George, Adam Brooks and Jorge George. Brooks, the son of NJAC founders Bishop Melvin and Pastor Yvonne Brooks, underwent surgery as a result of the attack . He subsequently recorded a video from his hospital bed following his operation, which was broadcast live to people that had gathered at the church on September 12 .
In it he encouraged people to level up , and do their best . At the time of writing, the video had been viewed more than 20,000 times on social media . Brooks is now recuperating at home. By their very nature, churches welcome anyone, whatever their background, so that they can attend worship services or benefit from church-run community projects. Most church volunteers who interact with the public, namely ushers and greeters, are usually untrained in security issues but perhaps it s time that this was addressed.
CRIME SCENE: NJAC in Birmingham saw a knifeman enter the building last week (image credit: Sky News)
Deaconess Madge Obaseki is co-director of growthechurchnow.com and a human resources specialist . She believes that now is a good time for churches to consider their security . She told The Voice:
Churches should get together their management committee or board of elders and trustees to formulate some form of strategy on how they can protect the public who visit their premises. She continued:
They would need to look at their frontline workers . They would need to look at their security in terms of their doorways, and preparing staff and would need some form of training in place so that staff know how to deal with people who are aggressive and show signs of mental illness.
She also said that it is imperative for churches to ensure they have employers liability insurance and public liability insurance, in order to protect volunteers, employees and the general public. Retired police officer Leroy Logan is a man with a lot of security experience . During his time at the Metropolitan Police, he was head of the Black Police Association and played a major role in managing security during the 2012 London Olympics . He currently runs his own security firm and says it is key for places of worship to undertake a risk assessment.
All churches, regardless of denomination, should carry out their own risk assessments, which should be part of the whole safeguarding issue for their fellowship and vulnerable people . If they can t do it themselves they can always tap into the local crime prevention officer.
They should be able to give a clear breakdown of the vulnerable areas in their premises and things to consider in the area.
He also advises churches to train volunteers so that they have a basic understanding of security. As head of the National Church Leaders Forum, Reverend Ade Omooba does not want churches to become over cautious because of what happened at NJAC.
We must continue to welcome people within our community with open arms but be mindful of the social pressures that they are under. As far as NJAC is concerned, it is business as usual .
They are not letting the incident stop them from serving others. In a statement they said:
There is a palpable resolve that this incident will not affect the community-focused work, the open arms and open doors policy the church has for the community and the family fellowship that exists in the church.
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Last season s corresponding match MK Dons first visit to Kingsmeadow since they replaced the old Wimbledon 15 years ago passed without any trouble after heightened measures were implemented. The MK Dons team coach will enter the ground via a separate entrance to avoid it coming into contact with home supporters. Away fans will have to make the trip on official supporters coaches and will also be kept apart from Wimbledon fans.
MK Dons have decided their club officials, including chairman Pete Winkelman, will again sit in the away end and not in the directors box.
In a similar move to the March game of last season, the name of the away team will be missing from the front of the matchday programme and the visitors will appear on the scoreboard as just MK .
Yorkshire is waging a war on criminals who could wreak havoc on the UK s economy. Sometimes it pays to be slightly paranoid . In an age when crippling cyber-attacks can be launched from a teenager s bedroom, there is much to be said for creating a chain of distrust to protect yourself and your colleagues. A Yorkshire seminar about the rise of ransomware a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a ransom is paid heard that many firms still needed to take tougher action to vet files and data that could have been sent by criminals. Earlier this year, more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries were infected with the WannaCry ransomware virus after a cyber-attack crippled organisations, government agencies and global companies. The NHS was also badly affected . Some 47 trusts in England including a number in Yorkshire and 13 Scottish health boards were compromised when the virus targeted computers with outdated security.
This crisis provided food for thought when experts in the field of cybersecurity gathered at the Leeds head office of smart telecommunications business aql, whose CEO, Dr Adam Beaumont, is the regional business champion for CiSP, the Cyber Information Sharing Partnership. CisP is a national initiative operated by CERT, the Computer Emergency Response Team, which is part of the Cabinet office. One of the speakers, Thomas Chappelow, the director of Leeds-based Nimbox, a provider of cloud-based secure file collaboration and storage tools, said companies could make ransomware attacks pointless by securing data in a chain of distrust . He said companies should never take for granted where a file has been. Stuart Hyde, the regional leader for CiSP, who was appointed by aql, said there was every likelihood of further attacks, although not necessarily of the same type as the attack which hit the NHS. He said: It s a call out to say these types of attacks can occur and there are lots of things you can do to protect yourself.
Attacks do take place in Yorkshire and the Humber, but luckily we ve got quite a good level of skills to be able to tackle some of those. A number of Yorkshire firms are doing their bit to thwart cybercriminals of all sizes. The Leeds-based technical marketing agency SALT.agency has expanded its services into cybersecurity by releasing a CyberScanner service. CyberScanner is a tool designed by SALT.agency s in-house team which has the ability to scan and analyse websites to test thousands of security vulnerabilities. John Ward, director of operations at SALT.agency, said: Yorkshire is a diverse and forward-thinking region that s attracting some of the most talented people in the industry . It stands the chance of becoming a leader in cybersecurity.
However, he warned that many sizeable businesses were still being complacent about the issue. He said: There s always going to be some sort of hole in the net that will let in the sharks and of course, the bigger the net, the more damage there is going to be. He believes that many leading professionals are unaware of the risks of using unsecure wifi in public places. He recalled: A member of our team set out to simply capture all the wifi signals in a well-known coffee shop in Leeds, to see what we could discover . We found about 85 per cent of all the traffic that came from laptops was unprotected, so we could see exactly which websites they were visiting, and over 72 per cent of the mobile traffic was the same. Although the majority of people were looking at websites like the BBC and LadBible, two per cent contained sensitive information including websites, passwords and other personal information.
Although a number of people use VPN apps (virtual private networks) to communicate, there are still a surprising amount of people who don t. There might only be a handful of companies dedicated to cybersecurity throughout the region, but it s the damage prevention that will really help the economy grow . Cybercrime cost UK businesses 29bn last year and that s not acceptable . Businesses close and people lose their jobs because of preventable security flaws and mild negligence . Take those issues away and we re set for a bright future. David Wall, professor of criminology at Leeds University, believes that smaller SMEs sometimes lack computer security awareness.
He said: Nation-state attacks tend to be on infrastructure, like utilities and other services . Britain seems to be well equipped to counter such attacks, although you do not hear about many of these. Businesses and organisations can be attacked, but they do seem to have, or they are developing, business continuity plans . The recent WannaCry ransomware attack was a major wake-up call with regard to cyber-attacks in the region. Prof Wall believes Yorkshire has built up a critical mass of talented people who can send cybercriminals packing. He added: We have a history of developing experience in this area . Don t forget that we have had a number of major online banking and finance businesses in the region for many years, and the security experience from these has helped motivate others to think about cybersecurity. We have also had the two main universities in Leeds working on different aspects of cyber-security. It is now 20 years since Leeds University first started researching and teaching cyberlaw and cybercrimes, subjects that have remained popular ever since.
Leeds Beckett has recently developed a cybersecurity unit in its computing department and there is also expertise in Sheffield Hallam University. David Porter, the cybercrime investigator at Yorkshire & Humber Regional Cybercrime Team, added: The businesses I have interacted with across the region take cybersecurity seriously, and invest heavily in their systems, processes and people to safeguard personal data, business infrastructure and their clients. Recent events in the UK have tested organisations and businesses, but it s a testament to their approach to cybersecurity that there has been minimal impact in Yorkshire.
Yorkshire s businesses are increasingly exposed to cyber-attacks, accidental breaches, and an ever-changing regulatory environment, according to Thomas Chappelow of Nimbox, which specialises in protecting confidential data. Mr Chappelow said: According to the Government s 2017 Cyber Security Breaches Survey, just under half of all UK businesses admitted at least one cybersecurity breach or attack in the last 12 months . This number rises to two-thirds among medium-sized and large firms . In short, cyber-breaches affect most businesses. We are living in an age of big data , whether we re prepared for it or not . We re all collecting more and more data, without necessarily adapting our business systems and processes to protect.
We started our company in Yorkshire, because we saw an opportunity to tap into the huge pool of both qualified and aspiring and I dare say, underused cyber-professionals in the region . In Leeds, we have access to three university cybersecurity centres, filled with academics who produce valuable research into the issues we re all facing; a vibrant technology hub; and a specialist police unit that helps businesses to fight back against the tide of attacks.