Role for US adviser upsets British police

William Bratton to advise on strategies to deal with rioting after criticism of UK force by David Cameron.

    The British prime minister's decision to appoint a US street crime expert as an adviser after recent riots was a "slap in the face", a police body has said.

    William Bratton, credited with curbing street crime as police chief in New York, Los Angeles and Boston, said on Saturday he would help David Cameron's government develop strategies on dealing with widespread rioting and gang culture.

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    But a leader of the Greater Manchester Police Federation, which represents police interests', said Britain did not need somebody "who lives 5,000 miles away", and said the only thing the police needed was more funding.

    "There is anger, there is disappointment, a degree of incredulity as well," Ian Hanson told ITV News in excerpts to be aired later on Saturday.

    "What we've witnessed this week has been British policing at its absolute best.

    "The police leadership has also stepped forward in support of their officers and the service and now to be given this slap in the face by the Prime Minister and told that he wants to bring in Bill Bratton to cure all policing ills.

    The comments are likely to reopen rifts between the police and the government after Cameron, under pressure over his leadership during the rioting, said the police's initial response was inadequate.

    Hanson criticised government police cuts, including plans to reduce the national police budget by 20 percent during the next four years, with the loss of about 16,000 officers, as it deals with a record budget deficit.

    He said Bratton recruited an extra 5,000 officers when he took over in New York in 1994.

    The fatal shooting by police of a 29-year-old black man, Mark Duggan, in Tottenham, north London, triggered the riots, which have shocked the British people and sullied the country's image a year before it hosts the Olympic Games.

    Hundreds charged

    News of Bratton's new role came as courts in Britain charged almost 800 people with violence, disorder and looting.

    Community leaders in Birmingham working to defuse tensions in the aftermath of the riots [Al Jazeera]

    Among those charged is a man who is suspected of robbing a Malaysian student in an incident that was watched by millions of people on the internet, Scotland Yard said on Saturday.

    Reece Donovan, from Romford, a town just east of London, who is in his early 20s, was charged with robbing Asyraf Haziq Rosli, a metropolitan police spokesman said.

    Rosli was filmed being helped up after his jaw was broken during unrest in Barking, east London, only for the men who aided him to then empty his rucksack, in one of the most shocking images of the unrest.

    Donovan was due to appear in court later on Saturday, the spokesman added.

    Across the country, more than 2,000 people have been arrested over the disorder that has left hundreds of public and private properties burnt down.

    In total, across England 796 people have appeared in court, of whom 122 were under 18. Courts have been working through the night and two-thirds of those charged have been remanded in custody.

    Calls for those convicted to be stripped of their state welfare handouts and booted out of publicly owned housing were receiving growing popular support.

    Wandsworth Council in south London became the first local government to serve an eviction notice, on a tenant whose son has been charged. It will come into effect if he is convicted.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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