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Giuliani and Tony Blair Press Conference

Aired February 13, 2002 - 13:02   ET


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: It didn't take long for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to pick up a flashy new title. In London today, Giuliani was dubbed "knight of the British empire" by Queen Elizabeth herself. The honor recognizes Giuliani's leadership in the wake of September 11th. But since he's not a British subject, we can't rightly call him "Sir Rudy," at least on this side of the Atlantic. With that as backdrop, straight to London and the British Prime Minister Tony Blair with the mayor of New York City.


TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: ... the threat that is posed by international terrorism. But there is an equal determination to meet the threat and overcome it. And the leadership that you showed as the people having to deal with those terrible events following the 11th of September in New York. The leadership that you showed is an inspiration for people everywhere. So many thanks really. And we've obviously had a chance to talk about your successes as mayor on crime as well. We're grateful for your open advice on that.

But most of all to your and your colleagues, welcome and well done.

RUDY GIULIANI, FMR. N.Y. CITY MAYOR: Thank you very much, Mr. Prime Minister. Thanks very much, Mr. Prime minister.

I don't know adequately convey to you the admiration and the gratitude that the people of New York and the people of the United States for your strong support for us. And not just now, but maybe at our worst time. Its quite possible that September 11th was the worst day in the history of our country, certainly the worst day in the history of our city. And the only reason we emerged from it stronger than we were before is because yes, the people of New York have great strength, the people of America have great strength and we have good friends who are willing to step up and support us, and support us in inspirational ways, and you are one of them. And I can't think of anyone who was stronger in our defense, more articulate. You have the admiration and respect of all of us in America.

And part of my coming here and receiving this honor, which I take on behalf of the people in New York City is also to say thank you to the people in Britain. When we needed friends, you were there. You were from above and beyond anything we could have asked for and we're very, very eternally grateful for it. Thank you.

QUESTION: Two things. First of all, whether you thought about this afternoon exchange on crime in prime minister's question, seeing it actually in the flesh, and also on that crime discussions, since I understand that there's something like 8,000 more policemen for the same-sized population in New York City as there are in metropolitan London whether you think if Mr. Blair's serious about fighting crime, he has to get 8,000 more police?

GIULIANI: Well, I found the question-and-answer session fascinating, as I told the prime minister. I said it reminded me of one of my press conferences in the blue room, right?


GIULIANI: I don't how much of it is real and how much of it theater, but it was fascinating to thing to hear. And as I told the prime minister and the interior minister, sure, it's always better to have more police, and we had 40, 000. I guess if we had 50,000 we could have done more. But the reality what you do is more important than the absolute number. And there are differences between New York and London, differences in terms of the things that we have to police, the things we have to patrol, the United Nations being present in the city of New York requires us to divert an extraordinary number of police officers for protective details you wouldn't have to do in other cities.

I think the focus would have to be on the strategic use of the police rather than just the absolute number of them. And from everything I can tell, we have tremendous seriousness in trying to deal with the problem of crime. I think everyone realizes that that's something that can destabilize a society, and you have to do the pest you can reduce to the lowest possible level.

QUESTION: Do you think that -- or do the things that the mayor has talked to you about crime reduction, the COMSTAT (ph) program, which is a computer monitoring program, or broken windows, the theory of not letting the little things out of control. Do you buy into that? Is that something that would work in England? Or do you think that's something that needs to be done, for instance, in London, where as you heard in your own question session, that seems to be going in the wrong direction, at least according to the opposition?

BLAIR: I buy into it completely, actually. I mean, I think that the necessity for good quality information about what is happening is vital, and that's why we're working on a program not just in London, but across the police forces at the country at the moment precisely in order to get that down to basic command unit level. It's one of the parts of the reform program that we're putting through at the moment. We are actually of course increasing the number of police as well. That's important, too.

Although I think what the mayor saying is absolutely right. It is the use that you put those police officers too as well as the absolute number that's important. And we have had a particular problem -- and I should say overall in the last few years -- crime gone down, not up. But we have had a particular problem in London, and some of our other big city areas, with street robbery, in particular, the theft of mobile phones, and that's why we're introduced series of things to deal with that, including more police, including closed-circuit television, including secure accommodation youngsters that are out of control, and including a whole series of measure on antisocial behavior, and I buy completely into the notion -- because I believe that passionately -- that it is the low-level antisocial crime that you have to deal with in order, in fact, to be able to deal with the high-level organized crime as well.

In other words, if you creating a society in which there's a lack of tolerance of that antisocial behavior, then it is far easier to create a society in by the levels of crime are coming down all together, and part of the purpose of this government -- we've been very successful in reducing car crime and burglary, but now we've got to take that program on for armed robbery and other things, and also make the reforms not criminal justice system that once these things actually get into court, they give them the proper sentence that they need and society with demand.

HEMMER: Tony Blair, 10 Downing Street, with the former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani. Call him Sir Rudolph Giuliani, at least in London anyway, knighted earlier today, and quite an honor for the former mayor of New York coming on the heels of the events of September 11th. More than 2,800 dead in his city, a city that he has represented so very well from the very beginning of that tragedy.




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