Violent crime discussed at the Birmingham Salon

Left to right: Yvonne Mosquito, Sean Russel, presenter Jonathan Hurlow, Dr Damien J. Williams and Dr Hanna Pickard

Last night, 9 September, Birmingham Salon held a debate on the topic of public services intervening in the prevention of violent crime and the question of how people’s free will is affected. The event was held at and in collaboration with the Birmingham Medical Institute.

This was a free discussion where anyone could express their views on the matter at hand. The topic involved the Home Office’s PREVENT anti-terrorism strategy. It states that public services will intervene in cases where individuals are at risk of perpetrating violent crime.

The debate discussed the questions of whether violent crime is inevitable through the viewpoint of people making their own decisions about it. Birmingham Salon invited experts to help reach a conclusion:

  • Yvonne Mosquito – Deputy Police Commissioner
  • Sean Russell – Chief Inspector, and West Midlands Policing Lead for Prevention of Violence and Mental Health
  • Dr. Hanna Pickard – Reader in Philosophy, University of Birmingham
  • Dr. Damien J. Williams – Lecturer in Public Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of St Andrews
Left to right: Yvonne Mosquito, Sean Russel, presenter Jonathan Hurlow, Dr Damien J. Williams and Dr Hanna Pickard
Left to right: Yvonne Mosquito, Sean Russel, presenter Jonathan Hurlow, Dr Damien J. Williams and Dr Hanna Pickard

After presenting their long resumes, presenter Jonathan Hurlow asked the audience to image four social cases of “contemporary Peaky Blinders”, a hint to the 19th century Birmingham criminal youth gang. These were typical substance addiction and negative influence scenarios.

The audience didn’t take a particular interest in discussing these instead choosing to debate the problem through their own stories. Most were middle-aged and senior citizens who have had experiences with violent individuals.

Participants were eager to express their opinions by telling their own stories and putting forward long and open questions.
Participants were eager to express their opinions by telling their own stories and putting forward long and open questions.

The discussion took an ethical style rather than factual with conclusions being put aside. Many backstories were presented to illustrate different points of view. The panel experts were specifically invited to illustrate both a legal/political side of the story as well as the human one.

The next debate will be taking place in October. You can subscribe for further updates.

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