THE OUTGOING Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir Ian Blair, last week issued a warning to politicians that they must give “breathing room” to senior officers to run their police forces without politically motivated interference.
He said that frontline policing was a high-risk business and Scotland Yard must “move on” from its “occasional disasters”. Blair was speaking on his last day in office and said that running the £3.5 billion organisation of some 50,000 employees has been “99 per cent enjoyable”.
But he admitted many will focus on the other one per cent, including the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Forest Gate raids and a string of serious mistakes.
Blair’s remarks came after he blasted Tory London Mayor Boris Johnson for forcing him to resign after taking charge of the Metropolitan Police Authority.
He said standing down was the “only honourable course”, despite retaining the support of Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, when Johnson said he did not support him.
Blair admitted that the upper reaches of Britain’s largest force have “got a bit like politics” with one side briefing against the other.
Speaking about diversity, Sir Ian said the Met had made “extraordinary strides” since the death of Stephen Lawrence in 1993.