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Posted: 9/1/2004 4:25:17 PM EDT
This is interesting...Bill Bratton? Paul Evans? "US-style policing"....

Stevens: I don't want an American to run Met Police

By Jason Bennetto, Crime Correspondent
30 August 2004

Sir John Stevens, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has attacked the prospect of an American detective replacing him as the country's top policeman as an insult and outrage to his British colleagues.

Sir John has also criticised the fascination with US-style policing and argued that politicians and the public ought to have more pride in what the police have achieved in the UK.

The country's most powerful policeman, who is retiring in January, is particularly incensed at the suggestion that the Los Angeles police chief, Bill Bratton, could take his post.

"What are they saying, that the four or five people who have applied [for the post of Commissioner] are not up to standard and the only person who can do the job is an American?" he asked. "It could be taken as insulting - that no one in this country was good enough to do this job."

Along with senior officers within the Metropolitan Police, he reacted with anger after it was reported that Bob Kiley, the American appointed as London's transport commissioner, had contacted his friend Mr Bratton to suggest he apply for the Met job.

Before taking over the running of the LA police department, Mr Bratton was the New York police commissioner.

Sir John said: "I had a staff association meeting and there was absolute outrage that anybody who was not involved properly in the system should be going around touting for people in America to do the Commissioner's job.

"I know Bill Bratton well. He is highly capable, but you can't get people involved in this who are outside the system."

The front-runner for the job remains Sir John's deputy, Sir Ian Blair.

David Blunkett's apparent love affair with American policing styles and officers is causing disquiet nationally among police chiefs. Last September, he appointed Paul Evans, the head of the Boston police, to run the Home Office's standards unit, which oversees national police performances. He has also paid for Mr Bratton to come to London to give British police chiefs a pep talk.

Sir John, 61, said: "There is a massive amount to admire from America, however, for goodness sake, let's have some recognition of what we do in London. Let's be proud of what we are delivering over here on anti-terrorism, on homicide detection.... I could go on and on.

"The time has to be where recognition is given for some of the things we are delivering in this country. Let's have pride in London."

He added: "There needs to be, from more political parties, a recognition that we are doing a damn good job."

The Commissioner also warned of the danger of the Government and other political parties trying to use the police for their own ends.

"We must not be politicised," he said. "The greatest threat to British policing is [to] our independence.

"We must not give an inch [on] the independence of our operational work. If you get into that then you are going to be influenced by political parties and you are not going to be able to investigate in a fearless way some of things that happened in the past and deliver an independent judicial system."

Sir John went on to criticise the growing number of police targets set by the Home Office, which many officers believe have become overly bureaucratic and have distorted police priorities.

"There are too many targets," he said. "There should be two or three targets, like the reduction in crime and public satisfaction.

"I would like to see far more generic targets, including public satisfaction. You have to deliver what the public want or you will lose them."

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