A Yank to Run London's Fabled Scotland Yard: Will Bobbies Meet Billy?

He has been police commissioner of New York where he helped drive crime to historic lows, re-inventing the management of American policing in the process. Now he is a powerhouse chief revamping L.A.'s once troubled force, driving down crime in that city, and, according to sources close to the process, as well as London newspapers, he may be on a short list for head of Britain's fabled Scotland Yard, the London-based force with local police power and national anti-terror responsibility.

But according to Bill Bratton, he is not a candidate, has not been asked to consider the post and is not interested in the position -- or any position other than his current one as head of the Los Angeles Police Department at this time, well informed sources close to Bratton tell ABC News.

"I'm just completing my first year of a second term in the Los Angeles Police Department in which I'm very happy. I don't anticipate being asked to run the New Scotland Yard nor would I be interested," Bratton said.

Bratton, without any doubt, is a powerhouse of police management. And it is widely speculated in police executive circles that he is a candidate to run the unwieldy but critically important Dept. of Homeland Security following the US election in November.

Bratton, without any doubt, is a powerhouse of police management. He picks sharp aides, motivates them well, drives his deputies to invention and perfection, while at the same time facing down pressure groups and swaying politicians to his cause. And many of the key figures around him today have served time in England's law enforcement community -- or even come from there.

In short: he slings police theory like Wyatt Earp wielded a gun, writes Op-Eds and academic papers on crime and terrorism, and is a behind-the-scenes powerhouse in the selection process for American police chiefs. He also happens to be a transatlantic darling of the conservatives in London.

No wonder that in the days following a Police Executive Research Forum trip to London a week ago, where a group of American law enforcement officials joined a panel of about 40 officers for a discussion of what could be done to curb some of London's crime problems, rumors began to spread in the British press that Bratton could be a candidate for the job of running the Metropolitan Police. Those days coincided with the ouster Wednesday of Sir Ian Blair -- the Commissioner of The Met -- by London's mayor. The ouster followed a meeting a week ago Friday by Bratton with both the embattled Met Commissioner--a good friend of Bratton's-- and the mayor who had lost faith in him, Boris Johnson.

Sources familiar with the private meeting described it to ABC as "a nice meeting," "formal" and said it followed a lunch between Bratton, Blair and their spouses. There is no doubt, long time Bratton advisers say, that the backdrop to the setting -- a highly regarded police executive being pushed out by a vote of no confidence by his mayor -- was familiar to Bratton. It was the way he exited New York in the spring of 1996 after Mayor Rudy Giuliani made public his displeasure with the man he had hired to drive crime down and who had succeeded in that task.

Popularly known as Scotland Yard, The Met is a 50,000 plus police organization with a budget of about six billion dollars, and the patina that only the brand name Scotland Yard could offer to an already stellar career. It is also an agency that has come under siege by politicians in recent months.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
  • |
  • 4
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...