Met Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair is expected to announce his resignation later today after months of both speculation about his future and calls for him to stand down and comes after media claims that he paid public money to a close friend to sharpen his image.
Since succeeding John Stevens in 2005 Blair has been involved in a number of controversies and has often been accused of being too close to the Labour Government and of lacking good judgement. Only months after being appointed Blair was warned by the Liberal Democrats against expressing his views on the introduction of ID cards during the General Election period.
Although he has overseen a reduction in crime, Sir Ian’s tenure has been overshadowed by the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station in July 2005. The force was subsequently found guilty of health and safety failures.
In 2006 it emerged that the Commissioner had secretly taped several telephone conversations including some with Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith and he has recently been embroiled in accusations of racism by the force.
In May 2006 the Met was criticised when it emerged the Met sent 78 officers to remove banners and placards belonging to the anti-war campaigner Brian Haw. London Assembly member and current Deputy Mayor of London accused the force of doing “Tony Blair’s bidding.”
Sir Ian was known to enjoy good relations with former Mayor Ken Livingstone however it is rumoured that current Mayor Boris Johnson is less impressed with him. Earlier this summer it was reported that Mayor of London Boris Johnson and his ‘deputy’ Kit Malthouse had investigated their ability to remove Sir Ian from his post.
In 2007 the MPA rejected a motion of no confidence in Sir Ian. Votes against the motion by four magistrates and six Home Office appointees helped him secure a 15-7 majority. Speaking at the time former London Assembly and MPA member Damian Hockney said “a clear majority of democratically elected MPA members endorsed the London Assembly No confidence vote, but Sir Ian is clinging to office because of support from unelected MPA appointees.”
Earlier this year former Met officer and LibDem Mayoral candidate Brian Paddick said he was forced by Blair to support 90 days detention.
Mr Paddick told the Telegraph that Sir Ian’s “office said ‘you are a deputy assistant commissioner in the metropolitan police and as such you will support 90 days’. It felt as if I had a gun to my head.”