Bratton on Britain’s Cops

William J. Bratton
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For some time now successive British governments (and several senior police officers in the UK) have praised and followed the success of Bill Bratton and his methodologies as a police chief in the USA.

In their drive for ‘modernisation’ what they have often chosen not to talk about too much is, where many of Bratton’s methods have their foundation. When you’re trying to impress someone about how forward thinking and innovative you are, it doesn’t bode well for the ‘vision’ you are trying to create if you espouse ‘old’ ideas, now does it?

Perish the thought that anyone could possibly think there was nothing new in what you were saying. They might think you were simply trying to reinvent the wheel, like many of your predecessors before you and that simply wouldn’t look good on the CV, would it?

Getting the most from our coppers: As police across Britain face budget cuts, there are warnings of a corresponding rise in crime. But it’s priorities, not cash, that count, says Bill Bratton. (Read more)

Reading the article Bratton does talk a lot of sense, I agree with much of his thought process and, it is refreshing to see a high-ranking policing ‘expert’ talking in support of Sir Robert Peel’s principles for a change, even if he is an American. For the reasons alluded to at the start of this post, these ideas and theories are so often dismissed almost out of hand by today’s current leaders in British policing.

One of the responders to the Telegraph article rightly pointed out “the UK is NOT the USA” however, despite my dislike of our nations almost blind following of anything that originates in the USA, Bratton’s theory actually has its foundation in the UK, and long before the USA had anything remotely like proper police departments.

Bratton says in his piece, a critical aspect for success is “commanders were required to become creative risk-takers in a profession that had become risk-averse”. In my view we are often more ‘risk-averse’ than our cousins across the pond.

For that reason if no other, much of the methodology is likely to take a very long time to bed in here and, as ultimate success will be totally dependent upon the skills and desires of current police leaders and senior managers, ultimate failure is therefore probable!

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