America's toughest cop John Timoney on being the youngest four-star chief in the history of the New York City Police Department and how he managed to slash the crime rate in New York City.

Chief of the Miami Police Department John Timoney grew up in the Liberties in Dublin. In 1961, when he was 12 years old, he immigrated to New York with his family.

Sworn in as a police officer in 1969, John Timoney gained a reputation for being a top cop. He quickly rose through the New York ranks of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), becoming the top-ranking uniformed officer in 1994.

In the same year, Bill Bratton was appointed the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Along with the Mayor of New York City Rudolph Giuliani, they cooperated in putting the broken windows theory into practice to tackle the record levels of crime in the city. This involved tackling serious violent crime but also the so called quality of life crimes such as low level drug taking, public drinking and graffiti.

When a blind eye is turned to anti-social behaviour,

It gives a sense of lawlessness that nobody’s in control that nobody cares, it’s a scene where really serious crime flourishes.

By tackling anti-social behavior alongside serious crime, further crime and disorder was discouraged.

We saw results immediately.

Homicides and the overall crime rate fell and the trend continued. By 2005 the crime rate in New York City was the same as it was when John Timoney first arrived there in 1961.

John Timoney speaks about transforming the Times Square area of New York in the 1990s and his policy of dealing with public order issues before they get out of hand.

This episode of ‘The Late Late Show’ was broadcast on 9 September 2005. The presenter is Pat Kenny.