THE man credited with breaking the back of New York City's criminal underworld has been invited to advise Bahamian police as the government steps up its zero tolerance campaign against all forms of criminality.
William Bratton, now chairman of New York-based risk consultancy Kroll, served as police commissioner under Mayor Rudolph Giuliani from 1994-96.
Employing the "broken windows" theory that tackling petty crime can prevent its escalation to more serious criminal behaviour, he was known for being tough on gangs and getting law-abiding citizens involved in crime prevention.
Under his jurisdiction in New York, officers clamped down on people for graffiti, jumping subway turnstiles and a host of other petty crimes, although his approach did draw some criticism from activists.
Mr Bratton, a US Army veteran who served during Vietnam, is known for his success in "tougher jurisdictions" and also headed the police departments in Los Angeles and Boston, where he increased the diversity of the force to reflect the demographic make up of each city, as well as discouraging police corruption. He has also served as an adviser to the police in the UK, and was a candidate to take over as commissioner of London's Metropolitan Police.
During his tenure in New York, a tax surcharge was introduced which funded the recruitment of 5,000 better educated police officers, which in turn led to the clearance of a backlog of 50,000 outstanding warrants. Announcing the move, the government emphasised that it takes crime very seriously and is "relentlessly pursuing bold solutions" to curb lawbreaking.
The government said it is determined to solve crime by any necessary legal means, and wants to involve all elements of society and all qualified advice.
"We will show no tolerance and we will not rest until the scourge of crime is eliminated from our society," said Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.
He noted that his administration has already increased and better equipped the Royal Bahamas Police Force, and passed a very strong anti-crime legislative package.
"The government is looking at all avenues to boost its crime fighting plan, incorporating elements from people and organisations such as Mr Bratton, who have real life expertise in reversing crime escalation in very tough locations," said National Security Minister Tommy Turnquest. Any such information that is rendered useful, will be implemented and reinforced by the Royal Bahamas Police Force led by Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade.
The aim is to leave no stone unturned and fine-tune efforts designed at rooting out crime and ensuring the Bahamas remains a safe haven for all its citizens and visitors alike. "Our lawful and peaceful way of life must and will be preserved," he said.
The exploratory visit by Mr Bratton to take place tomorrow will include meetings with government officials and the police force. There will be a brief press statement at 2:45pm at police headquarters.