Sunday, August 14, 2011

UK government, police clash over US cop pick

Source: Press TV

British police unions have deplored the appointment of a US former top cop as the UK government's advisor on combating gang crime as an “insulting stunt”.

The veteran American police commander William Bratton, former commander of the police forces in Los Angeles, New York and Boston, was installed by Prime Minister David Cameron as an advisor on how to combat gangs and prevent a repeat of the past week's unrest and violence across Britain.

The Prime Minister and senior police officers have engaged in a visible row over the response to widespread mayhem that crippled several British cities and towns after violence erupted by the death of a black man at the hands of police officers in the London suburbs of Tottenham.

"America polices by force. We don't want to do that in this country," said Paul Deller of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents more than 30,000 officers in London.

Deller, a 25-year Met officer, accused the government of not being serious about following Bratton's recipe for reducing crime.

"When Mr. Bratton was in New York and Los Angeles, the first thing he did was to increase the number of police on the street, whereas we've got a government that wants to do exactly the opposite," he said.

Deller was referring to the government's plan to cut the number of police forces and to slash law enforcement spending as part of its efforts to reduce budget deficit.

Ian Hanson, chairman of the federation's Manchester branch, said local officers knew better how to police their own communities than "someone who lives 5,000 miles away."

Five people were killed during England's unrest, including a 26-year-old man shot to death in his car and a 68-year-old man beaten to death by a gang of looters.

In England's second-largest city of Birmingham, police said Saturday they had arrested two more men on suspicion of murdering three Pakistani men during street clashes there Wednesday.

The arrests rose to five the number of men, aged 16 to 27, being interrogated over the killing of Haroon Jahan, 20, and brothers Shazad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31.

The trio were fatally struck by a speeding car that appeared to be driven deliberately into a crowd of South Asian vigilantes protecting a strip of family-owned shops in west Birmingham.

Scotland Yard said that, as of Saturday night, 1,276 protesters and looters have been arrested, of whom 748 have been charged with various crimes.

More than 2,100 people have been arrested across the country. Courts in London, Birmingham and Manchester have stayed open around the clock since Wednesday to process the cases.

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