Top US cop Bill Bratton keen on Met police job
The man who cleaned up New York says it is ‘fascinating’ that only British citizens can apply for London role
The American policemen credited with slashing crime in New York and Los Angeles thanks to his 'zero tolerance' approach has said that he would relish the chance of running the Met and has criticised the home secretary Theresa May for insisting that all candidates to take over from Sir Paul Stephenson must be British citizens.
Talking before the rioting that took place across the capital this weekend, Bill Bratton told the Daily Beast website that the job at Scotland Yard was "one of the most prestigious positions in democratic policing in the world". He also admitted: "I have been interested in looking at that position."
Unfortunately for him the job advert placed by the Home Office and the Metropolitan Police Authority insists that all candidates must be British citizens. But it seems that stipulation was added by Home Secretary Theresa May and is not a legal requirement.
Indeed, Charles Moore pointed out in the Telegraph on Saturday that David Cameron told MPs last month: "Why should not someone who has been a proven success overseas be able to help us turn around a force here at home?"
Bratton could have been the man that the Prime Minister had in mind when he made the comment. He enjoyed great success as head of the police departments in Boston, New York and Los Angeles, where he became the first senior policeman to be given a second term in almost 20 years.
In the 1990s he established his reputation as he cut crime and tackled gang problems in New York. But he left in 1996 amid rumours that mayor Rudi Giuliani was upset that his top cop was getting more credit for reducing crime than he was.
Bratton is currently chairman of a private security company but was keen to stress that he has close links to the UK, and when asked about the job he said: "I've had a long, almost 20-year affiliation with England, with the Met, and their role in democratic policing. I don't know that there's a major police chief in America or Canada, or for that matter in the British Commonwealth, who, given the opportunity, would not consider it."
After the events of the weekend the job may be slightly less attractive than it was last week, but Bratton made it clear what he thought of May's stipulation about the nationality of candidates.
"The irony of that is that the Brits have been for years sending out their police officials all over the British Commonwealth," he said. "So they have no concern about sending people out from the British Isles to elsewhere in the British Commonwealth. But through [May's] unilateral action, they've precluded not only United States police officials such as myself, but others in their Commonwealth. So I find that fascinating."
The job of commissioner of the Met became vacant last month when Sir Paul Stephenson and his deputy John Yates both quit in the fall-out from the News International phone hacking scandal. ·
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