Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

It’s time for Sir Ian Blair to go

Holding back the truth of what happened at Stockwell on 21st July? Fine – could impede investigations.

Restricting the Independent Police Complaints Commission in their enquiries? Not fine – even if they weren’t, could give the impression that the Met were trying to cover up forensic evidence at the scene of the shooting. Hardly good for improved trust in the service or community relations.

Spreading false rumours that Jean Charles de Menezes was an illegal immigrant? Not fine – obviously designed to reduce public sympathy levels and gain the “oh, he probably deserved it” responses that were initially gained from the false reports of him “jumping the barriers while wearing an unseasonably warm coat”.

Repeatedly making high profile speeches about how we’re all going to die? Not fine – the role of the police is to maintain order, not create panic.

Secretly recording private conversations with both the IPCC and Britain’s Attourney General? Not fine – ignoring the obviously bad PR that has been generated, reducing the respectability of the service yet further, what the hell was the thinking behind it? Blair couldn’t have released the tapes to “back up” his version of events without breaking the law – plus it would imply a serious lack of trust between Blair and people/groups he should be working closely with.

Releasing “de Menezes was a rapist” stories to try and cover up the recording scandal? Absolute idiot – an obvious repeat of the “illegal immigrant” slur to make it look like de Menezes was a nasty piece of work who had it coming, plus even if true, utterly irrelevant and not in the public interest. Unless, that is, the Metropolitan Police have now set up anti-rapist hit squads. (Which some may agree with, but is beside the point…)

Sir Ian Blair is a liability, undermining the public’s respect for the police with every ill-considered action and each poorly-conceived speech. The Met’s Public Relations department is likewise less than useless – an incredibly stupid oversight in this Blairite age of media manipluation and image control, but doubly bad for an organisation which relies for its effective running on willing and enthusiastic public co-operation. I’d not normally contenance spending public funds on PR gurus, but the Met need it big-style – and any PR person worth their salt would point out that the best possible way to rebuild public trust would be a full, wide-ranging independent inquiry into Sir Ian Blair’s role in the de Menezes shooting, who was responsible for the shoot-to-kill order, followed by high-profile, top-level resignations where appropriate.

By the time of the de Menezes shooting, Sir Ian Blair had been the head of the Met Police for long enough not to be able to dodge responsibility. The buck stops with him. And even if you don’t agree with my long-held take on the man, if nothing else he needs to go to give the service a fresh start.

Update: The BBC’s Have Your Say on this story has a classic, from one Terrence Coleman:

“Yet another non-story for the media to drone on about, trot out their cronies in the civil liberty industry to add more nonsense. Never mind, it fills air time and sells newspapers no doubt. The pity of it is that you are trying to ruin the reputation of a brave and honest copper. Shame on the BBC for giving it air time.”

Move along, nothing to see here… The majority so far, however, seem to confirm my belief that Blair (Ian) has lost the public’s confidence, and so should go.