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Breakfast with Frost
Raymond W Kelly, Police Commissioner, New York City
Raymond W Kelly, Police Commissioner, New York City
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: RAYMOND W KELLY, POLICE COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK CITY SEPTEMBER 8th, 2002

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: The man in charge of combating crime in New York and guarding against all attacks, terrorist or otherwise, is of course the police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, who took over in January of this year. Many police officers, of course, had perished in the course of evacuating the World Trade Center on September 11th. I spoke to him at police headquarters in Manhattan and asked him first if he had to be constantly vigilant, constantly mindful of the possibility raised there by Stephen, of another massive terrorist attack.

RAYMOND KELLY: That's true, and we certainly have to prepare for that but I'm not one that says that another attack is inevitable. I think that the forces that are out to hurt us have been disrupted. I think their leadership is on the run - no guarantees here, of course. But I think we have to continue the pressure - we being the country, I think, you know, certainly the Western world but particularly the United States has to continue to keep the pressure on wherever it takes us throughout the world. Because we can think of probably a limitless number of targets in the United States, if we sit down and think about various scenarios, so we have to do what we can to protect ourselves here but I think ultimately we have to be very aggressive to seek out terrorists and destroy them.

DAVID FROST: How has life changed for the policemen - 20,000 plus policemen of New York?

RAYMOND KELLY: Well it changed in that obviously they've got to be more aware of a terrorist threat. Our core mission is still to fight crime, to address quality of life concerns in the city. Crime continues to go down in New York City - it's down six per cent from what it was last year, our homicide rate is as low as it's ever been, ever since we recorded it - down 12 per cent from what it was last year. So, the vast majority of police officers are primarily focused on conventional crime. What we ask them to do is be much more vigilant, much more aware of their surroundings, and look at things through the prism of September 11th. Now that's the police office in general. We have specific units that are much more engaged in direct issues of counter terrorism, that is our counter-terrorist task force, which we spoke about, our intelligence division also is very much engaged in gathering information, gathering intelligence, we're now starting to station officers in other countries.

DAVID FROST: Some people have said, I mean it sounds odd but given the horror of 9/11, has anything good come out of it?

RAYMOND KELLY: Well I think a certain bonding has taken place with the people of the city - I know I live very close to World Trade Center, aside, actually a block away, I've lived there for 12 years, and you can feel it, there's a palpable sense of we're kind of all in this together. I think New Yorkers are gritty, tough people to begin with but they, I think they really feel that they're on a mission.

DAVID FROST: Because of course, as people observed at the time, I mean it seemed impossible that New York would ever have the experience of Europe or London or somewhere and be invaded, really, I mean that was a new and horrific experience.

RAYMOND KELLY: Yes, we thought that the oceans were protecting us - we were very naive in that regard, obviously. So I think if any good has come from September 11th it's that we're over that naivete.

DAVID FROST: Commissioner, thank you very much.

INTERVIEW ENDS

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