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Former Boston, New York Police Chief In Talks For Scotland Yard Job

Former Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton speaks a news conference in Los Angeles.
Branimir Kvartuc
Former Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton speaks a news conference in Los Angeles.

William Bratton, who has been the police chief in New York, Boston and Los Angeles, told the AP today that he was in talks with the British government about a job. The AP reports:

Bratton said he received a phone call Friday from Prime Minister asking him whether he would consider becoming a consultant for British police. He said he thanked Cameron for the opportunity and will continue speaking with British officials to formalize an agreement.

"This is a prime minister who has a clear idea of what he wants to do," Bratton told the AP in a phone interview. "He sees this crisis as a way to bring change. The police force there can be a catalyst for that. I'm very optimistic."

Bratton, who has built a reputation for curbing gang activity and sharply reducing crime, hasn't been shy about wanting to head Scotland Yard, which was at first overwhelmed by the riots and has over the past few months been embroiled in corruption charges over the News Corp. hacking scandal.

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Bratton said he wanted the job:

"From my perspective, I have been interested in looking at that position, if it was open to people outside of Great Britain," Bratton told me on Saturday as various British newspapers mentioned the former leader of the New York, Los Angeles, and Boston police departments as a possible replacement for Sir Paul Stephenson. "There are so many issues to be addressed at this particular time, and so they need to get a sense of stability in the leadership."

Bratton also faced criticism in 2007 for his handling of immigration protests. During skirmishes at MacArthur Park, his officers beat two television camera operators and shoved people walking away from officers. Police also shot rubber bullets at the crowd.

At the time, Bratton admitted his officers used too much force.

"Quite frankly, I was disturbed at what I saw," Police Chief William Bratton told KNX-AM at the time. "Some of the officers' action ... were inappropriate in terms of use of batons and possible use of nonlethal rounds fired."

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.