Home Secretary Jacqui Smith gave the following statement moments after Sir Ian Blair has confirmed he is standing down as Metropolitan Police Commissioner after Mayor of London Boris Johnson told him he wanted to see a change of leadership:
“Sir Ian Blair told me this morning of his decision to tender his resignation in two months time. With regret, I have accepted his decision.
Sir Ian has always had my support for the vital and difficult tasks demanded of the Met. They go well beyond the effective policing of London – a big enough job in itself – to the Commissioner’s national role in policing and tackling terrorism.
I pay tribute to Sir Ian for the massive reductions in crime the Met has achieved in London over the last few year and his continuing efforts to tackle the issues of guns, gangs and knives. His pioneering work to introduce neighbourhood policing to London has made a huge impact on the safety and confidence of Londoners.
He has transformed the police’s capacity to prevent and deal with terrorism throughout Britain including his leadership during terrorist outrages on London streets.
Sir Ian can be proud of his contribution nationally and locally.
Sir Paul Stephenson will become acting Commissioner when Sir Ian steps down. The role of Met Commissioner needs strong support from all with the best interests of London and national policing at heart. I am today setting in hand the process for the permanent appointment of the next Commissioner.”