'British police services are in crises, nationwide', warns former NYPD chief

30 June 2022, 08:21 | Updated: 30 June 2022, 09:20

Former American police chief Bill Bratton has warned the "British police services are in crises, nationwide" with the Met "mired in controversy for years."
Former American police chief Bill Bratton has warned the "British police services are in crises, nationwide" with the Met "mired in controversy for years.". Picture: Alamy

By Lauren Lewis

A former American police chief has warned the "British police services are in crises, nationwide" with the Met "mired in controversy for years."

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Bill Bratton, former Police Commissioner of New York City and Los Angeles, told LBC this morning's revelation that one in seven police departments in the UK are under special measures is "an eye opener" and should be a "wake up call".

He said it was clear the next commissioner of the Met "needs to be a great leader" to try to correct all the problems that the Met has been dealing with over the last several years."

But Bratton said he did not believe the Met's "brand" would be permanently tarnished by the series of high profile incidents in recent years.

The police force has been widely criticised for its handling of cases including the murder of Sarah Everard, the findings of the independent inquiry into the murder of Daniel Morgan, the stop and search of Bianca Williams and Child Q, who was stripped searched by officers at her school.

Bratton said the Met was "one of three most iconic police departments in the world" and warned that "no police department is permanently free of controversy or crises."

The police force has been widely criticised for its handling of cases including the murder of Sarah Everard, the findings of the independent inquiry into the murder of Daniel Morgan, the stop and search of Bianca Williams
The police force has been widely criticised for its handling of cases including the murder of Sarah Everard, the findings of the independent inquiry into the murder of Daniel Morgan, the stop and search of Bianca Williams. Picture: Alamy

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He said: "I was privileged to lead two of the others [iconic departments]: New York and Los Angeles, and both of those organisations, when I took them over, were in the midst of extraordinary crises very similar to what's going at the Met.

"We were able to turn them around. No police department is permanently free of controversy or crises. The nature of what they do guarantees that, but I see crises as opportunity."

Bratton added: "When I went to LA and New York, both those organisations, the public had almost given up hope that they could ever be changed - the culture or the effectiveness.

"We saw first hand, one of the reasons I'm over here, that people went on to stand the success of those departments coming out of those crises and becoming very effective at reducing with crime, restoring public confidence. The Met has that capability.

"It's one of the most storied departments. It's been in a bad patch for a number of years now, but it can evolve from it."

Former NYPD chief Bill Bratton described turning around the force after taking over while it was in crisis
Former NYPD chief Bill Bratton described turning around the force after taking over while it was in crisis. Picture: Alamy

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The Executive Chairman of Teneo Risk, who is set to take part in debate on the Met's next leader at Policy Exchange, went on to describe what he believes the next commissioner must bring to the table.

"First and foremost they need to be a great leader," he said.

"You have a department, a police service, in crises. From my perspective that creates extraordinary opportunity for significant turnaround.

"To me, it's an ideal time to take over an organisation which is desires to change and a public that is demanding change."

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