Nick Herbert meets top US police chief

17 September 2007

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has met with Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton to learn from his success in tackling violent crime.

As Commissioner of Police in New York in the 1990s, Bill Bratton was credited, along with Mayor Rudy Giuliani, with cutting crime in New York by 75 per cent.

The success was attributed to "zero tolerance" policing, increasing officers on the streets, and holding them accountable.

Bill Bratton was subsequently appointed Chief of Police in Los Angeles where, in spite of having far fewer police officers than in New York, he has cut the number of homicides and aggravated assaults in Los Angeles by 20 per cent in the last two years.

Mr Herbert visited Chief Bratton at the Los Angeles Police Department's headquarters earlier this month to learn about how the force has dealt with gang violence in America's second largest city.

As Shadow Justice Secretary, Nick Herbert is taking a close interest in the measures needed to deal with violent crime.

This summer has seen a spate of knife attacks on the Sussex coast, with two fatalities.  Knives are now involved in 150,000 violent crimes a year in the UK and gun-related violence has quadrupled in less than a decade.

In response to growing public unease about crime, Nick Herbert joined David Cameron earlier in the month to launch a new crime-fighting manifesto.

"It's time to fight back" calls for three dimensional action against crime, with more police on the streets, tougher sentences and the strengthening of families and communities.

Former Sussex Chief Constable Ken Jones criticised David Cameron, arguing that violent crime had fallen.

But last week a poll conducted for the independent think tank Policy Exchange found that nearly half of the public feels increasingly threatened by gun and knife crime, with 45 per cent saying that their area is less safe than it was five years ago.

The poll also highlights the fact that violent crime is no longer confined to urban areas, with nearly a quarter of respondents in rural areas feeling that they or their family are at threat from gun and knife crime.

The latest crime statistics show a rise in offences of violence against the person over the past year in West Sussex, compared to a 1 per cent fall nationally.

Nick Herbert commented: "Bill Bratton is a real crime fighter.  It was a privilege to meet him and to see how he has succeeded in tackling violent crime in New York and Los Angeles."

Referring to Mr Jones' remarks, the MP added: "When the community can elect local crime commissioners, which is what we plan to introduce here, they and their chief constables will have to deliver, as Giuliani and Bratton did.  I doubt those who dispute public concern about crime will keep their jobs for very long."

Ends

 

Notes to Editors

1. For information on Conservative policies on crime, visit http://www.conservatives.com/Policy/Where_we_stand/Crime.aspx.

2. Policy Exchange's "Gun and knife crime in Great Britain", which was published on Tuesday 11 September, can be found at http://www.policyexchange.org.uk/publications/publication.cgi?id=59

3.The photograph shows Nick Herbert meeting Los Angeles police chief Bill Bratton on Tuesday 4 September.

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