The Metropolitan Police has been convicted of a serious crime, albeit, as the Trial Judge, Henriques J., said, one that was born of “an isolated breach brought about by quite extraordinary circumstances”. Notwithstanding this unprecedented and astonishing turn of events, Sir Ian Blair, Metropolitan Police Commissioner, clings by his fingernails to office.

This is unacceptable. It is not merely the fact of the conviction which demands his resignation but the systematic failures of training, Command & Control, organisation and conduct of operations that have been revealed in the case. These failures led to the death of an innocent human being.

Not content with that the Met chose to run a particularly dirty defence, trashing whenever possible Mr. de Menezes’ character. That can only have been on the authority and instructions of Sir Ian. The Jury have by their verdict and rider rejected the Met’s defence and implicitly such conduct.

In addition one must add to the mix the wholly unappetising series of events which led to Sir Ian Blair to pursue the line that a bomber had been shot after other officers knew that Mr. de Menezes was no such thing. Though Sir Ian was cleared of any wrongdoing in relation to that aspect of the affair, it gravely damaged his standing in the public’s eyes. Recently he has been involved in further controversy over allegations that he threw his toys out of his pram over his Deputy’s refusal to accept a bonus which put his own bonus beyond the pale too: quite how he thought, in the circumstances, he might qualify for a bonus this year beggars belief.

To add to the pressure on him the Jury, in an unusual though not unheard of move, issued a rider to their verdict to the effect that the officer in charge of the operation which led to the shooting, Cressida Dick, bore no personal responsibility for what happened. In my experience such a rider indicates that they were anxious that that officer should not be used as the whipping boy for others and, implicitly, that Sir Ian ought to be carrying the can.

If he is not to resign, as he has said, what has to happen nowadays for someone in his position to leave his post by way of resignation? Snort cocaine in his office? Debauch a young girl?

How can the public conceivably have confidence in his stewardship of our capital’s police in these circumstances? It is simply incredible that he has not cleared his desk this very day.

Still, given how close Sir Ian is perceived to be to this Labour Government, whose members also cling to office when caught out, sometimes again and again, in turpitude or incompetence, it is perhaps unsurprising that he should follow the example thus set.

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