Thursday, October 02, 2008

London Mayor 'forces out' Police Chief

Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner has resigned after what some have described as political hounding by the Conservative Party. Speaking on BBC’s Question Time, Lord Heseltine said there was “not a shred of evidence to suggest it was a political decision”. He went on to ask the question as to whether one should have confidence in the Commissioner when gun and knife crime has been rising significantly. Charles Kennedy, the former Liberal Democrat leader, said the Police Commissioner’s post had become “increasingly untenable”.
However, Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, insisted Sir Ian had “done a very good job”. This was certainly not the feeling of the audience, many of whom raised the issue of violence on Britain’s streets. “I share peoples concern” Jacqui Smith said but added, “Crime is down, not withstanding the concerns about knife crime”. But in a meeting early this year concerns as to whether Sir Ian was doing a good job were already being raised. According to The Times Boris Johnson, London’s Mayor, had the Commissioner in his sights as early as July. But after a meeting yesterday, Sir Ian left and went home rather than returning to Scotland Yard. And today Sir Ian made a short statement announcing his resignation [statement]. He is the first Police Commissioner to have resigned from his post since 1918 [BBC / Sky News / CNN].

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