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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 January 2008, 11:08 GMT
Perception of police 'a concern'
Sir Ian Blair
Sir Ian Blair called for a debate on policing in 2005
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair has voiced his concerns about the public's perception of the role of the police in society.

Speaking on the BBC's Today programme he said the police were expected to do "absolutely everything" and that was a "very, very wide mission".

Mr Blair also said "in terms of deciding who should have the voice, I don't think we've made that right yet".

He said he was still working to bring about a public debate on policing.

Social cohesion

In the wake of the 7 July bombings in 2005 Mr Blair called for a "compassionate" and "reasonable" debate on policing.

He said the public needed to decide what kind of police it wanted.

During Tuesday's interview, which was pre-recorded last week, Mr Blair said the police were faced with a huge task.

"The police are expected to do absolutely everything from dealing with the most difficult of crimes and terrorism to what is effectively being an agency of social cohesion, even a healer, in the inner cities."

Government priorities

He said that there was also a lot of pressure about what the money should be spent on.

"When I look at the priorities set by Her Majesty's Government, they're just about everything - everything's a priority," he said.

"There are people who want to put pressure on more money to be dealing with wildlife crime, more money to be dealing with traffic policing, more local policing, but also could you protect us against terrorism.

"This is not a whinge, it's just literally saying it's a very, very broad job and in terms of deciding who should have the voice, I don't think we've made that right yet."

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