NEW YORK (AP) – William Bratton, who as police chief in New York, Boston and Los Angeles built a reputation for quelling gang activity, is in talks with the British government to become an adviser on calming the violence there, he told The Associated Press on Friday.
Bratton said he received a phone call Friday from Prime Minister David Cameron asking him whether he would consider becoming a consultant for British police. He said he thanked Cameron for the opportunity and will continue speaking with British officials to formalize an agreement.
“This is a prime minister who has a clear idea of what he wants to do,” Bratton told the AP in a phone interview. “He sees this crisis as a way to bring change. The police force there can be a catalyst for that. I’m very optimistic.”
Bratton left the Los Angeles police in 2009 and is now a private security firm executive.
On Thursday, as Britain’s Parliament took up an emergency debate on the riots, Cameron told lawmakers he would look to cities like Boston for inspiration, and he mentioned Bratton as a person who could help offer advice.
Bratton had said in a statement Thursday that he would be “pleased and honored” to provide services and counsel in any capacity, adding that he loves London and has worked with British police for nearly 20 years.
After a week of violence, police in London said Friday they have charged almost 600 people with violence, disorder and looting over the deadly riots in the capital alone. Across the country, more than 1,700 people have been arrested.
Cameron said officers had been overwhelmed at first and outmaneuvered by mobile gangs of rioters. He said “far too few police were deployed onto the streets. And the tactics they were using weren’t working.”
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)