Page last updated at 07:49 GMT, Monday, 2 November 2009

Blair criticises Tory police plan

Former Metropolitan Police Comissioner Sir Ian Blair
Former Met Police commissioner Sir Ian Blair resigned last year

Tory proposals for elected officials to replace police authorities in England and Wales should "never see the light of day", Sir Ian Blair has said.

In a book, the former Met Police commissioner said plans for officials to set budgets and hire and fire chief constables were "seriously flawed".

He said it would encourage populism in policing, and instead suggested a royal commission to find ways to cut costs.

Tory London Mayor Boris Johnson called for Sir Ian's resignation in 2008.

The former police chief told the BBC he believed Mr Johnson had forced him to stand down "to show the power of the London mayoralty".

He said the move had "dangerous implications" for the future of British policing.

It had, he added, effectively introduced a US situation where "chief officers come and go at the behest of the mayor".

In a statement, Mr Johnson's spokesman said he had "committed to providing strong leadership in reducing crime and violence in London" during his mayoral election campaign.

'Ridiculous delays'

He added: "Ian Blair gave committed service to the Met as commissioner, for which the mayor and Londoners will always be grateful.

"We now have new leadership in place and the Met has moved on."

The former police commissioner said the "obvious dangers" of the Tory proposals involving elected officials were that they would make senior officers more compliant and less competent as they sought to satisfy their elected masters.

In his book about his career in policing, Sir Ian also condemned the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for what he described as the "ridiculous delays" and "variable quality" of its inquiry into the 2005 shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes.

He said the IPCC had wanted to bring him down to establish its credibility as an independent agency.

He labelled the body unreliable, inexperienced and a slow "toothless tiger" with a vendetta against him.

In his book, Sir Ian admitted that his force had handled the news that Mr de Menezes had not been a terrorist suspect "catastrophically", but added that the IPCC had done so too.

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