Sunday 14 August 2011

Looking Abroad

Looking Abroad

After a week of turmoil in English cities we now roll into a period of questions and answers. Why What Who When Where and How along with creating action with expected and unexpected outcomes.
Yet already the answers seem to be created with some haste, alongside the opportunity to blame and to challenge.
One such move is to bring Bill Bratton in to solve our problems.

It is somewhat surprising that the solution to all the issues relating to policing seem to be capable of being solved by one individual. Bill is a very respected ex police officer who has had an extremely impactive career. His ability to challenge and to revitalise is evidenced aplenty. Equally his relationship with his political masters has been a carefully crafted one.

So a good choice one might think. I met Bill at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham a few years ago. Unassuming, polite and committed to a cop led policing service. He has inspired many police leaders and equally has learnt from them. 

I know of no one who would not be interested in his perspective, perceptions and views. BUT, and it's a big BUT, it needs to be balanced with the cultural difference between UK and US policing. It also needs to be considered against other policing experts or those whose achievements may not be as visible. 

Canada, The Netherlands, New Zealand, SouthAfrica, and many others, have people who may be able to offer ideas and suggestions that may be of value as well as US cops from the other 10,000 forces there. 

If we are looking externally for new ideas, new impetus then let's at least look wide and deep, and resist any suggestion that we have found the solution before we have even resolved what the question is.


  1. Balanced view however it's about consulting or at least listening to officers in this Country before resolving issues using an outside person. Morale is rock bottom with the arrogance displayed by the current Home Secretary and Prime Minister.
    Agreed we could listen and learn from many but at least let's start the process by listening to our own 1st!

  2. Over the years Bratton has been studied by many UK Police leaders - as he has studied them.

    I'm suprised that our government don't think UK police don't engage to share best practice with foreign police. Prior to retiring as a senior officer in 2009 I had traveled to the US three times to study C2 methodologies, and Olympic security. I did the same while in Australia speaking at a C2 conference. I've also undertaken an exchange programme with Georgia in the US. All of these visits have included exchanges of best practice. On no occasion did I feel that London or the UK was other than at or near the leading edge in delivering high quality, sophisticated, proportionate policing.

    Outside of these visits I continued (and still do) to maintain dialogues in my area of specialty with my peers in the NYPD and LAPD - comparable cities to London where I worked. Both are recognised as world centers of excellence in some of the technologies, approaches and tactics they employ. As is the UK and London.

    I'm not unique, the continual exchange of ideas between police officers and forces is a dynamic process. I never had the privilege of meeting Bill Bratton, but know several colleagues who have. As you've said, he is very committed to delivering policing excellence - as are the UK Chief Officers I've worked with and who are involved in this weeks police response.

    I've no issue with Bratton advising the UK government, as I'm sure the lesson that they will learn is that UK Police leaders are both familiar to him and recognised by him as some of the most experienced and expert practitioners of their profession in the world.


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