02/10/2008

Sir Ian Blair Steps Down As Met Police Commissioner

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair has announced he is to resign after three years as Britain's most senior policeman.

Sir Ian, who was appointed as the 24th Met Police Commissioner in February 2005, said he would be standing down on 1 December.

The top police officer has faced recent criticism over his handling of a number of matters, including the racism row which involved the Met's most senior Asian officer Tarique Ghaffur, as well as the events surrounding the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes.

The Brazilian had been shot dead by police marksmen in the London Underground in a case of mistaken identity. The inquest is ongoing.
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However, in a statement released by the Commissioner, he said he was not resigning "because of any failures by my Service and not because the pressures of the office and the many stories that surround it are too much".

Adding he was "resigning in the best interests of the people of London and the Metropolitan Police Service".

Sir Ian also said he was proud of his record and "would have wished to continue to serve Londoners and the Metropolitan Police Service", but London Lord Mayor Boris Johnson made it clear in a "pleasant but determined" way that he did not wish to work with him.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she accepted his resignation "with regret" and added he had left London "safer and more confident".

(JM)

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