Page last updated at 17:32 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

Met chief's pay-off 'a disgrace'

Sir Ian Blair
Sir Ian Blair will step down on 1 December

A reported 400,000 pay-off to outgoing Metropolitan Police commissioner has been branded a "disgrace".

The sum is believed to be what Sir Ian Blair would have been paid had he stayed in the post to the end of his contract in February 2010.

He resigned last month saying he did not have the confidence of the Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Some London Assembly members claimed the pay deal effectively leaves Londoners paying for two police chiefs.

Sir Ian will officially step down on 1 December and the post of commissioner is being advertised at 253,000 a year.

Danny Shaw, the BBC's home affairs correspondent said: "The 400,000 figure is understood to be close to the true amount."

The revelation was greeted by criticisms by opposition politicians in the London Assembly.

In this economic climate it is frankly a disgrace that this is even being considered.
Dee Doocey, London Assembly member

Green Party Assembly Member Jenny Jones said: "By paying off Sir Ian Blair, the mayor has left Londoners paying for two police commissioners but only getting the services of one.

"If the mayor had consulted other parts of London government about both the original decision to dismiss Sir Ian and the subsequent decision to compensate him, we probably wouldn't be in this situation."

Liberal Democrat London Assembly member Dee Doocey, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), said: "I can see no reason whatsoever to pay off somebody who has resigned.

She added: "In this economic climate it is frankly a disgrace that this is even being considered."

The MPA insisted Sir Ian's pay deal did not include "advance payment of bonuses or compensation for the lack of an opportunity to earn bonuses over the next 18 months".

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith will make the final decision on who will become the new commissioner after recommendations by the MPA and Mr Johnson.

The appointment is expected before next spring.

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