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Saturday, 13 August 2011

Thugs Must Be Made To Fear The Police, Says U.S. 'Supercop' Hired By Cameron

# Bill Bratton and PM expected to meet next month
# Osborne warns of 'deep-seated social problems'

Young thugs and gang members should be made to ‘fear’ the police and stiff punishments for crimes, according to the Prime Minister’s new American crime adviser.

Super-cop: Bill Bratton, who cleaned up New York and LA.

Former New York police chief Bill Bratton, famed for his ‘zero tolerance’ tactics, said yesterday that UK forces should be more assertive with offenders, advocating a doctrine of ‘escalating force’.

Last week David Cameron was reported to have approached Mr Bratton to discuss taking charge of the Metropolitan Police, and he has already enlisted him to help tackle the threat of gangs.

However his comments came as fresh doubts emerged over his chances of landing top job at the Met, which could be hindered by the Prime Minister’s own police reforms and clampdown on immigration.

According to the Guardian, as a US citizen Mr Bratton may be blocked by the police and social responsibility bill currently going through parliament.

It states that the Met commissioner must hold the office of 'constable', which Mr Bratton, who has never served in the British police, does not.

He could be sworn in but would then face another obstacle.

Those who hold the office of constable and who are not British citizens must have been granted immigration status allowing them to remain in the UK indefinitely.

However, the government has vowed to restrict the numbers of people being granted permission to stay in Britain indefinitely to limit immigration.

New York: Bratton made his name by tackling gang crime in the city.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, the 63-year-old American said young offenders should be made to realise very early in their lives that crime will result in punishment.

He said: ‘You want the criminal element to fear them, fear their ability to interrupt their own ability to carry out criminal behaviour, and arrest and prosecute and incarcerate them.

‘In my experience, the younger criminal element don’t fear the police and have been emboldened to challenge the police and effectively take them on.

‘What needs to be understood is that police are empowered to do certain things - to stop, to talk, to frisk on certain occasions, to arrest if necessary, to use force.’

The deadline for applications for the Commissioner’s post, which became vacant following the resignation of Sir Paul Stephenson during the phone hacking scandal, was supposed to be Friday.

Bill Bratton is not a complete outsider to British policing. He's been a consultant advising different forces.

In 1991, he famously delivered a list of about 400 gang and drug kingpins he wanted to arrest to the mayor of Boston when he became commissioner.

His initial success in New York relied on big increases in resources - recruiting 5,000 new better trained officer. Reports of serious crime dropped 27 per cent.

In Los Angeles he worked on smaller budgets, specifically tackling gangs, using Big Society ideas of local areas taking responsibility for fighting crime in their neighbourhoods.

Mr Bratton left Los Angeles police in 2009 - after significantly lowering the crime rate and is now chairman of Kroll, a Manhattan-based private security firm.

The advert placed by the Home Office states that candidates ‘must be British citizens’.

Mr Cameron spoke to Mr Bratton - who has also headed the Los Angeles police - by telephone yesterday.

The two men discussed the possibility of Mr Bratton advising the Government on how to deal with gangs.

Mr Bratton said: 'This is a Prime Minister who has a clear idea of what he wants to do.

'He sees this crisis as a way to bring change. The police force there can be a catalyst for that. I'm very optimistic.'

The pair are expected to meet face-to-face next month to continue their talks.

Chancellor George Osborne today backed Mr Bratton and said there were 'deep-seated social problems' to address but stuck to the party line on police budget cuts.

'We are committed to the plan we have set out for police reform. And it is about reform, about improving the presence of the police in our communities, making the police more visible,' he said.

He told Radio 4 Today programme. 'There are very deep-seated social problems which we need to tackle.

'There are communities that have just been left behind by the rest of the country, there are communities cut off from the economic lifeblood of the rest of the country.

'I don't think the debate should be reduced to whether there should be x-thousand numbers of police officers or x-thousand-plus-one numbers of police officers in our society.

'We want an effective police service. They have done an amazing job this week. We want to use the advice of people like Bill Bratton to really tackle some of the deep-seated social issues like gang culture.

'But this is not just about police budgets; this is about a far bigger challenge for our society, which is dealing with people who we have ignored for too long and helping them feel they have a stake in society.'

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