AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
LONDON: A US street crime expert enlisted by British Prime Minister David Cameron to help curb gangs after this week’s riots warned today that solving the problem was more complex than just arresting people.
As police turned out in force in London in a bid to prevent any repeat of England’s worst riots in decades, former New York police commissioner Bill Bratton agreed to visit Britain in coming months to give advice.
Bratton, a key figure in imposing “zero tolerance” policing in New York and cutting crime after the 1992 Los Angeles riots, said
the solution was robust
but community-based policing to nip gang culture in the bud.
“You can’t just arrest your way out of the problem,” he told the New York Times in an interview. “It’s going to require a lot of intervention and prevention strategies and techniques.”
Bratton said the British government was looking for “the idea of, what has been the American experience in dealing with the gang problem and, what has worked for us and not worked for us and how that can be applied.”
A week on from the initial flare-up of violence, which spiralled into four days of rioting that left five people dead, Britain has been searching for answers as to how the country sank to such lawlessness.
Downing Street confirmed late on Friday that Cameron had telephoned Bratton and asked him to visit, adding that he would be giving advice during a series of meetings in the autumn, all on an unpaid basis.
Finance minister George Osborne, backed Bratton’s focus on social issues and said he would not back down from planned police budget cuts which Britain’s opposition and senior police officers have criticised.
England has had three quieter days following the wave of violence which led to 1,600 arrests in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham and several other cities.
London’s Metropolitan Police today said they had charged a man in his 20s with robbing a Malaysian student during the riots in London in a shocking incident that was watched by millions on the Internet.