British Police Slam Decision to Hire US Riot Adviser

Posted August 13th, 2011 at 6:50 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

British police vented their anger Saturday over Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to hire former New York police commissioner William Bratton as an unpaid consultant to British authorities on how to curb street violence.

Paul Deller of the Metropolitan Police Federation said “In Britain we police by consent… America polices by force and we do not want to do that in this country.”

He accused the government of not being serious about following Bratton's approach, saying that when he was in New York and Los Angeles, the first thing he did was to increase the number of police on the street. Deller added that “here, we have a government that wants to do exactly the opposite” — referring to Britain's plans to slash law enforcement spending as part of debt reduction efforts.

Ian Hanson, chairman of the federation's Manchester branch, said local officers know better how to police their own communities than “someone who lives 8,000 kilometers away.”

The announcement Friday to hire Bratton follows several days of riots that erupted in London and other cities across Britain. The violence was originally touched off by the fatal shooting of a 29-year-old man in London's economically depressed Tottenham neighborhood.

Authorities have arrested more than 1,700 people across the country, and courts have been busy dealing with a massive backlog of cases. Five people were killed in the violence.

Prime Minister Cameron has said he would look to the United States for solutions to gang violence and seek advice from U.S. cities that have fought gangs, including Boston, Los Angeles and New York.

Bratton now chairs New York-based security firm, Kroll. After hearing he might be contacted about the position, Bratton said in a statement that he would be honored to provide his counsel to the prime minister. The terms and conditions of the arrangement were being discussed.

Bratton also has served as Boston police commissioner, chief of the Los Angeles Police Department and chief of the New York City Transit Police.