Bill Bratton, the former New York police commissioner brought in by Prime Minister David Cameron to advise him on how to go about curbing Britain's street violence, preferably without having to increase the numbers of our police officers on the streets, has suggested to the Prime Minister that one relatively cheap measure would be to issue every householder across Britain with a free baseball bat. Bill Bratton says he did the same thing when he took on the task of curbing the street violence in America's New York City with the result that it became America's most crimeless city virtually overnight.
Even today he says that only a very few of New York's residents ever go to the bother of closing their windows unless it's cold outside.
Paul Deller of the Metropolitan Police Federation points out that the baseball bats were issued to New York residents not as an alternative to increasing the numbers of police on the streets but as an additional measure to increasing them. The prime Minister says that while Mr Bratton has kindly offered his services to Britain in an unpaid capacity it would be unlikely that thousands of New York's police officers would be willing to do the same, and that we just don't have the money to pay for them to come here.
A warning has also come from the Department of Employment who say that any reduction in crime would inevitably lead to job losses. They point out that after the baseball bats were given to New York residents the reduction in crime it brought there led to a whole range of workers being made redundant when it was found that their services were no longer required, including locksmiths who found they could no longer find customers for their locks, and with firms no longer needing to employ people to patrol their premises at night. Eventually even the New York police officers were finding they had nothing to do all day and would be spending their time helping old people safely across roads against their wishes.
London mayor Boris Johnson has also made it clear to the Prime Minister that he feels it would not have the same positive effect in London as it did in New York. Though he admits that the idea behind it is good, to get fathers to play games with their sons and to encourage them to use up their energy on a playing field rather than by smashing windows and setting buildings ablaze, the Mayor points out that baseball is not as popular a sport in Britain as it is in America and so would be unlikely to have the same effect here. He feels it would be more appropriate here in Britain to issue people with cricket bats.