Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

'Supercop' defends UK policing

US 'supercop' Bill Bratton said he does not believe police cuts will lead to a rise in crime in the UK

An American "supercop" who advised the Government after last summer's London riots said he is impressed with the way UK police deal with gang crime.

Bill Bratton, 64, who tackled gangs as head of police departments in New York, Boston and Los Angeles over the last two decades, told Radio 5 Live he does not believe police cuts will lead to a rise in crime.

And he hit out at those who criticise police, saying: "To blame the police, I am sorry, there are other issues at work here. Lots of these people are just, unfortunately, criminals."

Mr Bratton toured the country after riots swept through England last summer, visiting and learning about crime in London, Manchester and Birmingham.

He applauded police efforts to counter gang crime and singled out forces' willingness to work in partnership with community groups, schools and local authorities as being key to lowering offending.

It is not possible for the police to arrest their way out of it, he said.

The zero-tolerance adviser, who was at one point discussed as a potential Metropolitan Police commissioner, said British officers were ahead of their US counterparts who took three or four generations to successfully police gangs.

"You seem to be doing pretty well," he said, adding that "out of crisis comes opportunity" but he also warned there was "no quick fix".

Mr Bratton said Britain's gang culture was in an early phase and the authorities were doing well to combat it.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) estimates funding cuts will lead to 34,000 fewer police jobs in March 2015 than there were in March 2010 when there were 144,000 officers in England and Wales. However, asked if successful policing can still be achieved with less funding, Mr Bratton answered: "Certainly."

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