UK Politics

Bill Bratton: 'I would have liked to run the Met'

Former US police chief Bill Bratton has voiced his disappointment at not getting the chance to run London's Metropolitan Police.

Home secretary Theresa May said the post had to be held by a UK citizen.

Mr Bratton told the BBC's HARDtalk he had no quarrel with the decision, but said: "I would have liked the opportunity."

Senior police officers have questioned the prime minister's plan to get him to advise on tackling gang violence.

There had been speculation Mr Bratton, who has been labelled "Supercop", was also the prime minister's preferred candidate to head up the Metropolitan Police, after his success in turning around troubled police departments in New York and Los Angeles.

But Mr Bratton said David Cameron had not asked him to apply for the post.

"He and I have never had a conversation about the issue of leadership of the Met," he said.

His said his advice was being sought after the recent riots, and he would be an informal adviser to the Home Office rather than to the prime minister.

Bernard Hogan-Howe was named the new commissioner of the Metropolitan Police last week.

Prestigious position

Mr Bratton said: "It would certainly be a position I would entertain applying for. It is the most prestigious police position in the world in democratic policing.

"I would have liked the opportunity... I would be deceiving you if I was to profess that I would not have been interested."

Mr Bratton made his name in the US by combining a "zero tolerance" of petty crime, being tough on gangs and building a strong relationship with the law-abiding community.

He is a strong supporter of ethnic diversity within police forces.

The decision to seek advice from the US on policing after the riots has been criticised by a number of senior police officers.

Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said the British model of policing was fundamentally different from the American one.

But Mr Bratton said: "Sir Hugh has his opinion. I have mine. I don't think there are significant differences between the goal of both police services which is to reduce crime, fear and disorder.

"I think we have a lot more similarities than differences and I think we have a lot to learn from each other."

He said he believed many aspects of policing in New York or Los Angeles could be transferred to London and other cities.

Watch the full interview on Hardtalk on BBC World News on Wednesday 21 September 2011 at 0330, 0830, 1530 and 2030 GMT and on the BBC News Channel at 0430 BST.

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