Vir Cantium

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A Quiet Word From Left of Field and Blair Is On the Way Out

Met. Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair has been given his marching orders in advance for 2010, when his contract was due for renewal.

The news, as revealed in the Sunday Times, and covered elsewhere today (including Iain Dale), was delivered to Sir Ian by way of Len Duvall, member for Greenwich & Lewisham and MPA chair(man), informing him that he was unlikely to be permitted a second term and should start to make other arrangements for his post Met career or retirement. This is, of course, a very gentlemanly way of telling him to get lost, with the only surprise being that it wasn’t Boris, or Kit Malthouse, dropping the word in his ear, but one of the remnants of Livingstone’s establishment who has delivered the pistol and bottle of scotch.

The ST informs us that the new commissioner will be effectively appointed (via the Queen) by the home office (as always), though informed by consultations with the Mayor and MPA. There’s the problem: any commissioner knows to whom he owes his job – and it’s not the Mayor or MPA, mere consultees – but the Home Office mandarins (not even the Home Secretary, let’s face it). He must conform to the current establishment groupthink. Will the say so of a Conservative Mayor and the MPA chairman (which may well be the same person this time) still be enough to steer the process towards selecting someone who will really make a difference – something which almost compels the appointee to publicly upset the Home Office applecart once in a while?

If we are to genuinely have a Police Commissioner to measure up against, say, the NYPD’s head, it will have to be the Mayor that makes the final recommendation to Her Majesty. Let’s hope that Sir Ian Blair’s successor will be the final person to be appointed under the current, tired and increasingly discredited old methods.


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