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US police chief denied British role

Prime Minister David Cameron’s informal effort to draft in a top US cop to lead the Metropolitan Police has reportedly by over-ruled by Home Secretary Theresa May, who has insisted that the new Commissioner of the force is a British citizen.

Senior British officers have agreed with her, saying it would be “quite simply stupid” to recruit someone with no experience of policing in this country.

The vacancy arose when Sir Paul Stephenson, the former head of Scotland Yard, resigned last month amid the phone hacking scandal.

Bill Bratton, who has been chief of police in New York, Boston, and Los Angeles, is well-known for his ‘zero-tolerance’ techniques, which saw a significant reduction in crime and gang warfare in those cities. Bratton is thought to be interested in running the Met, but has denied being formally contacted by Downing Street.

The appointment of a new Metropolitan Commissioner is decided by the Home Secretary, who was concerned that an American with no experience of British policing and culture would be unsuitable for the role, and the advertisement for it stipulated that only British citizens can apply.

Cameron had raised the prospect of hiring a foreign police chief last month, saying in Parliament: “Why shouldn't someone who has been a proven success overseas be able to help turn around a force at home?”

But Sir Hugh Orde, the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), said: “The notion that you can ship someone in from another country to run a police force in a different environment and a different culture is quite simply stupid.”

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