Officers must focus on building community trust to help solve Britain’s knife crime epidemic, says former New York police commissioner BILL BRATTON
PUBLISHED: 17:29 EDT, 9 March 2019 | UPDATED: 09:54 EDT, 10 March 2019
Former New York police commissioner Bill Bratton says the UK needs to focus on building community trust to solve the knife crime epidemic
There has been much discussion recently among British politicians and police officials regarding the knife crime the country is experiencing – a crisis that cannot be denied.
Although society can expect to see occasional spikes in violent crime, the abnormality here is the rise is taking place throughout the country.
Recent incidents are out of the norm and when some of the individuals murdered are total innocents, it just tips an issue and the public says enough is enough.
It is creating great damage to the public psyche, and is not helpful to the country’s image or tourism.
Political and police leadership need to understand the causes behind the uptick in the knife crime and devise a plan to address it.
The crime situation in Britain has been exacerbated by drastic cuts in the size of the police forces across the country while officers are being asked to do a lot more as other social services are reduced.
But it is not just the number of officers. It is how they are used.
Police currently have less time to focus on prevention and diminished time to connect with the communities they serve.
My personal hero, Sir Robert Peel, had it right in 1829 with his nine principles. The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder. When properly resourced, agencies can be successful in this mission. For too long, the limited resources have been focused on response, after the fact.
You need community cooperation, and overused stop and search will increase anger and mistrust. This will cause further alienation from the police and less co-operation.
- Pictured: Chef, 36, who was murdered in Edinburgh street…‘What are you looking at?’ Man, 19, is stabbed on a bus in…
Police currently have less time to focus on prevention and diminished time to connect with the communities they serve (Picture: Knives on display at Greater Manchester Police HQ)
The advice comes after 26 knife murders took place across the UK from Tuesday January 1st to Thursday March 7Javid says police resources are important to deal with knife crimeLoaded: 0%Progress: 0%0:00PreviousPlaySkipMuteCurrent Time0:00/Duration Time0:36Fullscreen
I have a mantra: Cops Count – Police Matter. The individual actions of each cop count and the totality of actions of a police force matter.
Budgets need to be replenished and agency size enlarged. An increase in the number of officers should relate to ‘Bobbies on the Beat,’ who focus on building community trust, while also dealing more effectively with issues that are creating fear and disorder.
You have to move quickly dealing with knife crime, but have to be careful that you are not having unintended consequences.
What I would worry about is the idea of the quick fix, such as an unfocused increase in stop and search. That is a very valuable tool, but it is not the whole toolbox and you cannot let it get out of control.
You need community cooperation, and overused stop and search will increase anger and mistrust. This will cause further alienation from the police and less co-operation. If you load up a neighbourhood with extra police you are seen as being too assertive. You do not just want a taskforce patting people down, often times the wrong people – innocent people. The focus has to be on the actual criminals.
You might have less crime – by small margins – but it plants the seed of discord in the community.
You are where New York was before my second turn as commissioner in 2014 – too few police, being asked to do too much with too little. The response controlled crime, but ended up causing more harm than good.
What New York was doing then was treating a relatively healthy patient with too much medicine – too much enforcement, particularly stop and frisk.
What I put in place, and what the police are doing now, is precision policing.
We targeted the medicine, using enforcement only where it is needed, on the small number of people who commit violent crime and sicken their neighbourhoods, while building relationships with the much larger number of people who want their neighbourhoods to be healthy and strong.
In 2018, New York experienced the safest year on record. There were 10,000 recorded stop and searches — down from 700,000 in 2010 – allowing the city to continue to 28 years of steady crime decreases, making it the safest large city in the United States.
It wasn’t easy in New York, and it won’t be easy in Britain.
It will require not only more resources and personnel, but also the shared responsibility and accountability of precision focused and collaborative political, community, and police leadership.
I am confident that working together you can successfully resolve this crisis.
William J Bratton CBE was New York City Police Commissioner from 1994 to 1996 and from 2014 to 2016.
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Former New York police commissioner BILL BRATTON on how to solve Britain’s knife crime epidemic
They were a bright spot in an American police department under a dark cloud. They were extremely effective at getting illegal guns off the streets.
Except they were also robbing citizens and selling drugs.
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Jacob Daskel, coordinator of Brooklyn South Safety Patrol shomrim of Boro Park sits with his gun squat coordinating the robbery of 29 Church Ave.
Geoffrey Edelsten, 75, is gearing up to renew his vows with his much younger wife Gabi Grecko, 28.And on Thursday, the award-winning medical entrepreneur proved romance isn’t dead as he declared his love while dressed in an edgy black leather outfit.In an Instagram video shared by former prostitute Gabi, Geoffrey said: ‘Hi my darling Gabi, there are tides in the affairs of men and women, that is there are success and failures… and we must take the current as it serves.’… So when we have the opportunity we must take it.’ Share this article Share The elderly businessman then removed his leather jacket for dramatic effect.’My darling, open up your eyes and you’ll realise here I stand with my everlasting love – see you soon,’ he finished. Aspiring rapper Gabi, who is currently living in the US, captioned the video: ‘The two G’s.’Melbourne-based Geoffrey told Daily Mail Australia that they are still living in different countries ahead of their nuptials.’I recorded the video yesterday but didn’t know that Gabi would post it,’ he said. Gabi is currently in the process of converting to Judaism so she can renew her vows with much older husband Geoffrey in a Jewish synagogue.The couple first wed in an Asian registry office in Melbourne back in 2015. Geoffrey is currently recovering from an operation and Gabi is still based in New York, so the pair have yet to see each other in person since reconciling. To keep their long-distance love alive, Gabi admitted to Sydney Morning Herald that they’ve been ‘sexting’ each other. Geoffrey, who is a medical entrepreneur, has also been receiving help in the love department by taking a new erectile dysfunction tablet that he developed.Meanwhile, Gabi is currently focused on her burgeoning rap career after debuting her hip-hop alter-ego Glitta Fox last year.The rapper has already released two singles, Glitta Foxx Lean and See Me Madd. In 2016, Gabi hit the headlines after she claimed she was paid to accompany two NYPD officers at the center of a corruption probe on a lavish alcohol and sex romp to Las Vegas in 2013.The busty socialite told the New York Post that she was paid to join the since-fired Deputy Inspector James Grant and Detective Michael Milici on a private jet to Sin City.She said she was recruited by New York businessman and Bill de Blasio campaign donor Jeremy Reichberg, recalling how she performed sexual favors for the officers during the flight.Gabi famously met Geoffrey on a sugar daddy website when she was 25.
District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein Got It Right, Those Who Think Otherwise Are Missing the Point
Murray Huberfeld in November 2017 outside federal court in lower Manhattan. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert
We believe, in no uncertain terms, that District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, got it very right to the extent of his available sentencing capacity when he sentenced Platinum founder Murray Huberfeld to 30 months and $19M.
Judge Hellerstein understood the magnitude of the crime that Huberfeld perpetrated on the COBA members. He was clearly aligned with he notion that you cannot punish the bribed without punishing the person or people who orchestrated the scheme underlying that bribe. And Platinum Partners in all its glory was a scheme. Hellerstein recognized that Huberfeld’s “conduct was not only corrupt and criminal, but led to the loss of millions of dollars of union retirement benefits,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.
According to the article in the Daily News “
Prosecutors considered Huberfeld, who was the briber, less culpable than Seabrook, the bribe-taker. Assistant U.S. Attorney Martin Bell noted that Seabrook had deceived the correction officers he represented.
“(Huberfeld) didn’t know the correction officers. They didn’t know him. He had no responsibility to them,” Bell said.
Huberfeld attorney Henry Mazurek insisted that his client had not known that Platinum was doomed at the time he paid the bribe. Rather, Huberfeld had sought out COBA — using crooked Mayor de Blasio donor Jona Rechnitz as an intermediary — to boost his own status within the hedge fund.
For Assistant US Attorney, Martin Bell, to agree with Huberfeld’s attorneys is ridiculous. With all due respect it shows a fundamental lack of understanding of our financial system, a lack of clarity with regard to Huberfeld’s long history of trampling on our legal and financial system and a lack of disregard for the victims of Platinum’s fraud. US Attorney Martin Bell should be celebrating the work he did that led to Judge Hellerstein’s rulings, rather than giving impetus for a litany of appeals on the part of Marty Huberfeld.
We applaud Judge Hellerstein’s comments with regard both to Huberfeld’s attorneys’ statements and if in agreement the statements of Bell when, as the Daily News states:
But Hellerstein called that argument “nonsense.” He held Seabrook, Rechnitz and Huberfeld jointly liable for the loss of the investment.
Hellerstein’s assessment of the absurdity of this argument speaks volumes.
Under legal regulatory guidelines a person who pedals an investment has a fiduciary duty to the investor, whether they know that investor or not. For a contrary argument to have even been raised highlights a lack of understanding of the SEC and the protections put in place to safeguard investments.
Were COBA to have been an ERISA fund, the fiduciary duty would have been greater. These were the livelihoods of people at stake, their futures and those of their children and grandchildren we placed at risk. And Murray Huberfeld knew it the moment he solicited the investment and bribed Norman Seabrook to transfer funds. The COBA investments and the fiduciary duty of Platinum’s partners and Norman Seabrook are the very foundation of investment policy. And they are no less legally bound.
The bribery and fraud underlying the loss of those investments was criminal. It lacked moral boundaries, put the foundation of the US financial system at risk and raises questions regarding the safeguards in place for investors.
Assistant US Attorney Martin Bell’s comments, if not taken out of context in the various new articles, increases the magnitude of the risks that Huberfeld and those like him pose to investors, if appropriate punishments are not levied.
A hedge fund founder from Lawrence who was part of a scheme to bribe the leader of New York City’s correction officers union to invest $20 million in his firm was sentenced to 30 months in prison Tuesday, officials said. His attorney vowed to appeal the term.
Murray Huberfeld, 57, who founded Platinum Partners hedge fund, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein in connection with the transfer of $60,000 that prosecutors said was used to bribe Norman Seabrook, the former president of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association, to invest tens of millions in Platinum.
In all, the union lost $19 million of its $20 million investment with Platinum. As much as $15 million was from a retirement benefits program funded by the City of New York that invests money for correction officers’ retirements.
Huberfeld pleaded guilty in May to wire fraud conspiracy. Specifically, he pleaded to conspiring with Jona Rechnitz, a real estate businessman and star government witness in several federal corruption trials, to cause Huberfeld’s hedge fund to pay $60,000 to Rechnitz’s company by falsely representing that the money was payment for courtside tickets to eight New York Knicks basketball games.
Prosecutors said that money was really intended for Seabrook, a payment for making the investment of the union’s funds. Rechnitz had testified in Seabrook’s trial that he delivered $60,000 in cash to Seabrook in a Salvatore Ferragamo bag in 2014 after the union’s funds were invested with Platinum.
“Not content with being a successful businessman, Murray Huberfeld sought to grow his fund through fraud and deception, playing a critical role in a pernicious kickback scheme,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman in a statement. “His conduct was not only corrupt and criminal, but led to the loss of millions of dollars of union retirement benefits. The sentence imposed today reflects the magnitude of his crimes and untold pain his conduct caused to others.”
50 Cent considers legal action over alleged threat by NYPD commanding officer
Rapper 50 Cent says he’s considering legal action over claims of a threat from an NYPD commanding officer at a Brooklyn precinct.
The New York Daily News reports 50 Cent was scheduled to attend a police-sanctioned boxing match last summer when 72nd Precinct Commanding Officer Emmanuel Gonzalez allegedly told officers to shoot the rapper on sight.
50 Cent tweeted that Gonzalez is a “dirty cop abusing his power.”
The NYPD says the allegations are under internal review.
Jona RechnitzBaruch Ezagui
A Mayor de Blasio donor who is out on $500,000 bail pending his sentencing for bribing cops wants a judge to allow him to travel to Hong Kong for a jewelry show later this month, according to new court documents.
Jona Rechnitz — a government cooperator who testified at two corruption trials — is asking Manhattan federal Judge Alvin Hellerstein to allow him to travel for nine days starting Feb. 25 “to attend an international jewelry show” for business, lawyer Alan Levine wrote in a letter to Hellerstein.
During testimony, Rechnitz said he currently works in real estate and jewelry.
Prosecutors agreed to the request as long as Rechnitz’s wife turns over her passport.
Last month, ex-NYPD Deputy Inspector James Grant was acquitted of charges he took bribes while Rechnitz pal Jeremy Reichberg was convicted of bribing high-ranking cops for favors.FILED UNDERBILL DE BLASIO, CORRUPTION, JONA RECHNITZ
Posted: 5:20 PM, Feb 08, 2019 Updated: 6:34 PM, Feb 13, 2019
UPDATE: Since ABC15 first reported this story, the Maricopa County Attorney has asked the FBI to review the actions of the officers involved. Gov. Doug Ducey also called for the investigaton to be reopened.
On July 27, 2017, Johnny Wheatcroft was a passenger in a silver Ford Taurus when a pair of Glendale police officers pulled in front them in a Motel 6 parking lot.
The stop was for an alleged turn signal violation.
Minutes later, Wheatcroft was handcuffed lying face down on the hot asphalt on a 108-degree day. He’d already been tased 10 times, with one officer kneeling on his back as another, Officer Matt Schneider, kicked him in the groin and pulled down his athletic shorts to tase him a final time in his testicles, according to a federal lawsuit and body camera footage obtained by ABC15.
The scene was witnessed by his 11- and 6-year-old sons.“I have never seen anything like this before… This is just beyond the pale. It’s outrageous conduct.”
Multiple independent law enforcement experts, who agreed to review the incident, said the officers’ conduct was unlawful, potentially criminal, and one of the most cruel and troubling cases of police misconduct they’ve ever seen.
“I have never seen anything like this before,” said Jeff Noble, an attorney and former deputy chief of police in Irvine, Calif., who’s testified in hundreds of cases including Tamir Rice and Philando Castile. “ It reminds me of a case in New York where an individual was sadistically taking a broom handle and shoving it up (the suspect’s) anus. This is just beyond the pale. It’s outrageous conduct.”
Former LAPD detective supervisor T.T. Williams echoed his shock.
“That’s not even borderline,” said Williams, an expert witness who testified in the Philip Brailsford case on behalf of the prosecution. “That’s inhumane.”Watch the raw body camera video in the player below. WARNING: The video contains uncensored language and violence.
Schneider was suspended for 30 hours and remains an active officer on the force, records show.
The experts said it was appalling that Officer Schneider, who has won multiple awards from the police chief and has represented Glendale twice on the TV show Cops, was not terminated. They also believe Glendale should have referred the case for outside criminal investigation and prosecution.
Officer Matt Schneider
“If he intentionally struck a passenger in the testicles, and then intentionally tased him in or near the genitals, I’m surprised he hasn’t been prosecuted,” said Seth Stoughton, a former police officer who’s now an attorney and professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law. “It raises half a dozen red flags that suggest the need for a thorough review, including a review to determine if the officer committed any crimes.”On February 8, the Glendale Police Department released the following statement:
In addition to the statement, Glendale PD released 30 seconds of surveillance video showing the incident:
The release is full of omissions and information that does not match up with the departments own records.
But the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Arizona by attorneys Marc Victor and Jody Broaddus, alleges that the officers violated the constitutional rights of Wheatcroft and his wife, Anya Chapman, and engaged in the “excessive use of force and torture.”
Wheatcroft and Chapman, who were arrested and charged with aggravated assault on a police officer, spent months in jail after the incident because they couldn’t afford bail.
Chapman agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge in order to get home to her children, her attorneys said.
The charges against Wheatcroft were dismissed by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office after prosecutors saw the body camera video.
Wheatcroft, who’s currently in prison on an unrelated burglary charge stemming from a copper wire theft, was not available for comment.
For independent analysis, ABC15 spoke with three former law enforcement officers, who testify as expert witnesses in police use-of-force cases across the country: Williams, Noble, and Stoughton.
ABC15 traveled to southern California to interview Williams and Noble in person. Stoughton was interviewed over the phone.
TIME: 0:00 – 0:55
Officers Matt Schneider and Mark Lindsey approach the car for an alleged turn signal violation. Schneider, who claimed to see the violation, walks over to the passenger side where Johnny Wheatcroft is sitting. Officer Lindsey walks to the driver’s side. A friend of Wheatcroft’s, Shawn Blackburn, is the driver. In the backseat, Wheatcroft’s wife, Anya Chapman, and two children are sitting.
WILLIAMS: I have concerns about the initial justification for the stop.
NOBLE: The controlling officer is not going to the driver’s side and investigating the turn signal. He’s focused on the passenger, which tells me that maybe this is not why we’re here. They’re not really interested in his turn signal violation.
TIME: 0:55 – 2:05
Schneider asks Wheatcroft multiple times for identification. He responds by asking why that’s necessary since he wasn’t driving the car. The officer tells him, “If you’re a passenger in a vehicle, you need to have ID.” And if Wheatcroft doesn’t provide it, Schneider says, “I can take you down to the station and we can fingerprint you.”
NOBLE: So the passenger, he’s asking very reasonable questions: ‘Why are you asking for ID?’ And the officer tells him, ‘If you’re a passenger in the vehicle, you have to give ID.’ That’s misstatement of the law. He doesn’t have to give ID…It’s not true. It’s not accurate. (Then the officer says) ‘I can take you down to the station and fingerprint you.’ Well no, you can’t. You can’t. That’s using his authority in an improper way by claiming he can arrest or detain him to fingerprint him when he’s done nothing wrong.
TIME: 2:05 – 2:55
Schneider then opens the car door and grabs Wheatcroft’s right arm. By grabbing his arm, it prevents the seatbelt from sliding off completely. The officer then pulls his Taser and applies it to Wheatcroft’s arm. Wheatcroft says, “Stop please. I didn’t do anything wrong.” Shnieder replies, “Here’s the deal, you tense up and I’m going to, listen to me. Listen to me. Relax your arm.” Wheatcroft asks, “What did I do wrong? What did I do wrong?”
WILLIAMS: I didn’t see any resisting. I saw questions being asked. See (the officer’s) starting out wrong. You’re starting out wrong. See what he’s doing is escalating the situation for no reason at all.
NOBLE: Look at the passenger, there’s nothing threatening there. He hasn’t made any threats. All he’s done is ask some questions…We’re at a point, where this gentlemen, to a reasonable officer, has not done anything wrong. What has he done to allow an officer to physically touch him at this point? So to use force, you have to have a lawful detention or lawful arrest, why are we here. We are here for a turn signal violation and he’s not the driver.
TIME: 2:55 – 3:20
Schneider then puts his Taser away and uses his other hand to grab Wheatcroft’s elbow and put him into a plain compliance hold. The seatbelt wraps around Wheatcroft’s head and legs as officers try to pull him from the vehicle.
WILLIAMS: There’s no need to twist his arm. No need for that…He’s still strapped in the vehicle. What is he going to do? How is he going to get out…You ask him not to do this, ask him not to do that. He can’t do anything because he’s strapped into the seatbelt.
NOBLE: He’s put him in a rear wrist lock with the seatbelt over his shoulder. If I did that to you right now, you would similarly bend forward. And if you were not flexible, it would be painful. It should be no surprise to this officer, that he is pulling some resistance back. Because he is putting him in a position of pain. This is a pain compliance move. He’s twisting his wrist, he’s putting his left hand on his elbow forcing forward where the seatbelt is restraining him.
TIME: 3:20 – 4:10
With Wheatcroft tangled in the seatbelt, another officer tases him multiple times in the left side by using what’s called a “drive stun.” Officer Schneider then steps back and fires his taser at Wheatcroft who’s on the ground between the car door and the vehicle, with the seatbelt wrapped around his legs. The officers then drive stun Wheatcroft several more times. He’s placed in handcuffs.
WILLIAMS: He’s being drive stunned there and he’s still strapped into the seatbelt. All of that physical initiation by the officers should not have been. He can’t comply because you’re not allowing him to comply…What you see here is textbook wrong — at every angle.
NOBLE: He was just sitting there, and they’re tasing him again. (Reporter: So there’s no reason for that? It’s about pain, just to make him hurt?) Absolutely. That’s exactly what that is for. It’s about pain. This is about causing this man pain. There is no legitimate law enforcement purpose for that Taser.
TIME: 4:10 – 4:50
During the previous portion, officers claim Anya Chapman hit Officer Lindsey in the head with a plastic bag of items. You hear Schneider say, “Mark is hurt.” The officers then try to drag Wheatcroft away from the vehicle, but his legs are still stuck in the seatbelt. The 11-year-old boy in the car moves into the front seat to finally free Wheatcroft from the belt. Schneider commands the boy to go to the front of vehicle, causing him to burst out in tears and scream.
NOBLE: He’s trying to let officers know, ‘I’m trying to comply. I’m stuck I can’t do what you want me to do.’ A child, a small child, who just released his legs, who in effect helped the officers, (Schneider) starts giving orders as if he’s a suspect. And you see the boy, who just did something good, just tried to help the officer, being confronted.
WILLIAMS: The young kid there had more common sense than the officers…The officers should have done that themselves.
TIME: 4:50 – 6:00
Wheatcroft is laying face down on the asphalt, handcuffed, with an officer kneeling on his back. Officer Schneider then turns, accuses Wheatcroft of kicking, and then kicks Wheatcroft in the groin twice. Schneider then takes his left hand, pulls down Wheatcroft’s athletic shorts below his buttocks, and tases him in the testicles, according to Wheatcroft’s lawsuit. Shortly later, Schneider recharges his Taser and this time places it on Wheatcroft’s penis while he’s laying on his side, saying “You want it again? Shut your mouth. I’m done (expletive) around with you.”
WILLIAMS: That’s not even borderline. That’s inhumane…There’s no reason to tase him period when he’s handcuffed at all. They’ve got four, five officers around there. All of that tasing should have been done; well there shouldn’t have been tasing to begin with.
NOBLE: This is not an accident…This has the appearance of an intentional act. There’s absolutely no legitimate law enforcement purpose. This is beyond the pale. This is unconscionable.
TIME: 6:00 – END
A handful of officers pull Wheatcroft to his feet and pull Taser probes from his skin. He yells in pain, Schneider tells him, “Shut up…You shouldn’t have been stupid then… Quit acting like a big baby.” Wheatcroft was tased 11 times, according to his attorneys. He was placed in a police vehicle and booked into jail for two counts of aggravated assault. He did not receive medical treatment. Experts said he should have.
NOBLE: This was bad from the beginning, and it only got worse.
WILLIAMS: They started wrong and they ended wrong. There is no justification for what they did.
ABC15 is committed to Taking Action and continuing our coverage of this topic. If you have any comments or questions, contact ABC15 Investigator Dave Biscobing at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Glendale Body Camera