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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 January 2006, 00:58 GMT
LA police ponder London link-up
Bill Bratton with Ken Livingstone in the background
Bill Bratton discussed policing the capital with Ken Livingstone
Los Angeles police officers could be seconded to Scotland Yard to liaise on counter-terrorism operations.

The US city's police chief, Bill Bratton, said he may base an officer in London full-time to strengthen links between the two forces.

"Our world is now consumed by the issue of terrorism," he said.

Mr Bratton, who pioneered the "zero tolerance" crime policy in New York, is in London for an anti-terrorism conference between US and UK officers.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair is to host the meeting on Wednesday.

Mr Bratton is the president of a think tank called the Police Executive Research Forum, which has organised the meeting.

Sir Ian has just become its first non-US board member.

Intelligence exchange

Scotland Yard said the conference "builds upon the continuing close liaison with law enforcement agencies in the US and countries worldwide".

Mr Bratton said it was the latest in a series of meetings between police chiefs from both sides of the Atlantic "to find ways to improve the exchange of information" on combating terrorism.

In dealing with serious international crime you need to focus on the community
Bill Bratton
Los Angeles police chief

The work aims to ensure key intelligence is passed on as quickly as possible between major city police chiefs.

Mr Bratton cited the example of the 21 July attempted bombings in London, which happened as one of his deputies had been attending a police briefing on the 7 July attacks.

He said the colleague was able to give him "real time information" before the story broke in the US media.

Mr Bratton was speaking on Tuesday as Sir Ian and London Mayor Ken Livingstone unveiled plans to introduce a Safer Neighbourhood policing scheme in the capital a year earlier than scheduled.

Nullifying terror

Every neighbourhood in London is to get its own dedicated police team by April 2007, Mr Livingstone said.

The units, comprising a sergeant, two Pcs and three community support officers, can currently be found in 285 out of the capital's 624 wards.

Mr Bratton, who visited a neighbourhood team in Camden, north London, said community policing was important in nullifying the terrorism threat.

"In dealing with serious international crime you need to focus on the community - if police do not have relationships with communities in a city as ethnically diverse as London the game is all over, we will always be playing catch up," he said.

He added that the best way of combating the terrorist threat was through "intelligence which allows us to get them before they get us".

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09 Jan 03 |  Americas

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