Met chief support crumbles

In the aftermath of the murder, a cascade of misinformation and lies from the very top down. From Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair to the trigger-happy plain-clothes shooters identified only as "carrying a long-barrelled weapon", the actions that day have been exposed as a cover-up of the events that resulted in the extra-judicial execution of an innocent man.

Met chief support crumbles

Joined: Nov 25 2005, 11:41 AM

Jun 12 2006, 08:28 AM #1

The Times  June 12, 2006

Met chief support crumbles
By Richard Ford, Greg Hurst and Dominic Kennedy

Shooting inquiry leak reveals catalogue of blunders by police

SIR IAN Blair’s position as Metropolitan Police Commissioner looked increasingly fragile after political support for him appeared to fade last night.

The beleaguered head of Scotland Yard received only lukewarm support from Tony McNulty, the Police Minister, as it emerged that the inquiry into the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes will disclose serious blunders and mistakes by the force.

As the row over the anti-terror raid in Forest Gate in East London again focused attention on the Metropolitan Police’s anti-terror tactics, Mr McNulty conspicuously failed to give Sir Ian an assurance that his job would be safe if the inquiries into the shooting of Mr de Menezes were highly critical of the Yard.

Mr McNulty was asked whether Sir Ian could continue as Metropolitan Police Commissioner if he was strongly criticised in two investigations being conducted by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into the shooting of the Brazilian at Stockwell Underground station in South London. Mr McNulty said “I think we need to wait and see.” He added that he would not speculate on the contents of the reports being prepared by the IPCC.

Mr McNulty then offered his support “at this stage” to Sir Ian but refused to speculate further.

Mr McNulty’s words were seen by some politicians as a deliberate attempt by the Home Office to distance itself from Sir Ian after 12 months during which he has been at the centre of a number of embarrassing controversies.

One senior politican said: “That is no endorsement”. He added: “I think Sir Ian’s position is untenable.”

Mr McNulty made his intervention following the leak of the findings of the IPCC inquiry into the shooting of Mr de Menezes who was mistaken for a suicide bomber.

According to the News of the World, the inquiry found that senior Scotland Yard officers already knew that Mr deMenezes was innocent when Sir Ian told a news conference that the shooting was directly linked to a series of attempted suicide bombings in the capital the previous day.

The paper quoted an “IPCC-linked source” as saying that there was a belief in Whitehall that Sir Ian had not been told immediately because he was “notorious for taking bad news very badly”. The source was also quoted as telling the paper that the inquiry had found that Sir Ian tried to prevent the IPCC from investigating, citing the Prime Minister’s name in his support.

The IPCC, which took legal action to try to prevent the paper publishing its report, said yesterday that it did not represent “an accurate or fair description” of its findings, which have yet to be published.

But the claims added to the pressure on Sir Ian whose force is facing criticism over the failure of a huge police operation on a house in Forest Gate to find any evidence of terrorist activity.

Two brothers arrested in the operation, Abul Kahar Kalam and Abul Koyair Kalam, were released on Friday night after being held for a week under anti-terrorism powers.

Sources at the Metropolitan Police Authority predicted tough questioning for Sir Ian at his next public encounter with them on June 29.

“There was a cock-up at Forest Gate,” an insider on the body, which scrutinises Scotland Yard, said. “I just hope he can prove that the police are prepared to acknowledge their mistakes and learn from them and so get some credibility back with the communities they have to operate with to make sure Londoners are secure.”

Mr McNulty refused to be drawn on a reports that police had expressed reservations about the Forest Gate operation because of doubts about the credibility of MI5’s intelligence.

Last night David Winnick, a senior Labour MP on the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said that the leaking of the report would make Sir Ian’s position more difficult.

He said: “This is another rather sorry incident regarding the tragic shooting of a totally innocent person.

“Sir Ian Blair, either through ill luck or incompetence within the leadership as a whole of the Metropolitan Police, has been under serious criticism. This is not going to help him.”

Shahid Malik, another Labour member of the committee, said: “Nobody can walk away from what has happened over the last year without taking some reponsibility.”

Source: The Times
"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

"The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses." -- Malcolm X

"The eternal fight is not many battles fought on one level, but one great battle fought on many different levels." -- The Antagonist

"Truth does not fear investigation." -- Unknown

Joined: Jan 24 2006, 10:57 PM

Jun 12 2006, 12:33 PM #2

It does seem that they are gunning for Sir Ian Blair right now.

It wasn't because he didn't know enough..
He knew too much..........

July 15th 2005
Sir Ian Blair is quoted on Fox News website, commenting on the London bombing:
"Commenting on the possible role of Al Qaeda, (Ian) Blair said, "Al Qaeda is not an organization. Al Qaeda is a way of working ... but this has the hallmark of that approach.",2933,162476,00.html
In some ways she was far more acute than Winston, and far less susceptible to Party propaganda. Once when he happened in some connection to mention the war against Eurasia, she startled him by saying casually that in her opinion the war was not happening. The rocket bombs which fell daily on London were probably fired by the Government of Oceania itself, "just to keep the people frightened." -- George Orwell, 1984

Joined: Dec 7 2005, 03:21 PM

Oct 24 2007, 02:42 PM #3

Crisis at Scotland Yard as Met chief's deputy is forced to issue loyalty pledge

The Scotland Yard leadership crisis deepened last night after Sir Ian Blair's deputy was forced to issue a statement insisting he was loyal to his beleaguered chief.

In an unprecedented move, Deputy Commissioner Paul Stephenson said it was wrong to suggest that he and Sir Ian were on a 'virtual war footing'.

He spoke out following reports that an extraordinary rift has developed between Britain's two most senior police officers.

Their relationship is said to have deteriorated after Sir Ian was 'bounced' by his deputy into waiving a £25,000 performance bonus.

Mr Stephenson turned down his own annual bonus, effectively forcing Sir Ian to do the same.

The Commissioner was said to have felt 'greatly undermined' and sent Mr Stephenson a furious handwritten letter, effectively accusing him of disloyalty.

Yesterday Mr Stephenson, who hopes to succeed Sir Ian as head of the Metropolitan Police, issued a statement denying they had fallen out.

He said he was 'saddened and concerned by many of the comments ... about both Sir Ian Blair and the distorted impression it gives of the management of the Met'.

He insisted: "Sir Ian has never accused me of being disloyal and we have certainly not been on a "virtual war footing for months" as is claimed.

"To suggest otherwise is nonsense and we continue to enjoy a very strong working relationship."

Well-placed sources insist, however, that the relationship has become increasingly tense.

Earlier this year Mr Stephenson raised concerns with a senior police authority official about Sir Ian's drinking habits at official receptions.

The pair are known to have had a heated exchange over the award of a multi-million building contract for the Met's Safer Neighbourhoods programme.

Then they disagreed over the bonus.

Mr Stephenson insisted it would be inappropriate for the two top men to receive the payouts when the Met is embroiled in court proceedings over the shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes.

Sir Ronnie Flanagan, Chief Inspector of Constabulary, is said to be 'deeply concerned' about the turmoil at the top of Scotland Yard.

Behind the scenes, Home Office officials have drawn up an unofficial shortlist of candidates to succeed Sir Ian on a temporary basis in the event of him being forced to step down. They believe a 'big hitter' from an outside force is needed to take the helm before a permanent appointment is made.

Sir Ian is due to retire in January 2010, but speculation is mounting that he could be pushed out next month.

Following a string of gaffes and errors of judgment, a number of members of the Metropolitan Police Authority are threatening to support a no-confidence vote in the Commissioner. Critically, they include members who have previously been loyal to Sir Ian.

One Tory member, Tony Arbour, said yesterday: "The MPA is constantly being distracted by controversy over the Commissioner and his activities while what we need to be doing is getting on with making London a safer place."

London Mayor Ken Livingstone leapt to the defence of Sir Ian, saying he had been the victim of 'politicians conspiring against the Met'.

He said: "Politicians are skulking around in plots against the Commissioner, and by extension the Met as a whole, while crime in London is falling and police numbers are at record levels."

Although crime figures and detection rates have improved under Sir Ian, there have been persistent claims that he lacks the authority to run the Yard.

Critics say his management style is weak and his team of senior officers 'dysfunctional'.

Last year two of his most senior lieutenants, Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur and Deputy Assistant

Commissioner Brian Paddick threatened the Met with legal action.

During his troubled reign as Commissioner, Sir Ian nearly lost his job after it emerged that he secretly recorded phone conversations with the Attorney General and police watchdog officials. The police authority said his conduct was 'totally unacceptable'.

He was widely criticised after questioning why the Soham killings of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman had attracted so much media interest.

Last month the force's watchdog queried his ability following an official report into the aftermath of the shooting of Mr de Menezes.

Sir David Normington, Permanent Secretary at the Home Office, warned Sir Ian last year to stay out of trouble or risk losing the support of Downing Street.

The Commissioner's supporters, however, say he is determined to stay. One said: 'He is aware people may be plotting against him but he has no intention of quitting'.

Source: ThisIsLondon
"We are not democrats for, among other reasons, democracy sooner or later leads to war and dictatorship. Just as we are not supporters of dictatorships, among other things, because dictatorship arouses a desire for democracy, provokes a return to democracy, and thus tends to perpetuate a vicious circle in which human society oscillates between open and brutal tyranny and a lying freedom." - Errico Malatesta, Democracy and Anarchy 1924

Joined: Dec 7 2005, 03:21 PM

Oct 24 2007, 02:48 PM #4

Met chief on the rack over bonus

Martin Bentham, Home Affairs Editor

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair is facing an unprecedented no confidence vote in a row over claims that he wanted to take a £25,000 performance bonus.

Members of the Metropolitan Police Authority say they will push for a vote at a meeting this week amid growing concern about the leadership of Sir Ian, who has been in the post since February 2005.

The new blow to the commissioner - whose force is currently on trial over the shooting of Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes - follows reports that he has clashed angrily with his deputy Paul Stephenson after being forced to give up his right to a £25,000 performance bonus.

Senior colleagues are said to have condemned his behaviour, while others claim the row reflects a "jockeying for position" among contenders to replace Sir Ian if the Stockwell verdict goes against the Met.

Scotland Yard has tried to play down rift claims, but leading MPA members expressed concern about the conduct of Sir Ian, who receives a £228,000 salary.

Deputy MPA chairwoman Cindy Butts said: "I think it is wholly inappropriate for a bonus to be issued with everything that has happened this year."

Richard Barnes, a senior Conservative MPA member, who strongly criticised Sir Ian at a recent meeting of the police authority, also said the bonus payment was inappropriate.

"I think it would be premature to ask for a bonus while waiting for the outcome of the health and safety trial," he said.

He added: "I find it distasteful that bonuses are seen as part of pay now. I went on the record at the last police authority meeting with my concerns about lack of confidence in the senior management of the Met."

Damian Hockney, the One London Party member of the London Assembly, added: "There should be no talk of bonuses until the present problems are sorted out."

Jenny Jones, another MPA member, said that although Sir Ian might have qualified for a bonus, he would have been "unwise" to apply for it because of the negative impression it would give the public.

"He may feel he deserves a bonus - the Met has hit all its targets this year - but it would have been a provocative move and it is not like he doesn't earn a good salary already," she said.

The bonus controversy is the latest in a series of gaffes by Sir Ian which have blighted his tenure at the Met. The row is understood to have broken out about two weeks ago after Sir Ian's deputy Paul Stephenson, who had already declined his own bonus, questioned Sir Ian's desire to ask for the £25,000 payment.

The commissioner is said to have written to his deputy, though insiders deny reports that he questioned his loyalty in the letter.

The Met issued an extraordinary statement denying the two men had "had a blazing row", although a spokesman confirmed that they had had a personal discussion - and had both decided not to put themselves forward for bonus payments.

The spokesman added: "They have made it clear there was no blazing row and they still enjoy a strong working relationship."

Another source close to Sir Ian defended the suggestion that he should seek a bonus and pointed out that official figures show that crime has fallen sharply in London over the past two years.

"Crime is at its lowest level for ten years. Obviously there is the de Menezes case but performance is going in the right direction," they added.

An MPA spokesman confirmed neither of the men are seeking bonuses this year. Sir Ian is said to be furious that details of the private discussion have been leaked.

I like the bit about them feeling they deserved the bonus because the Met "has hit all its targets this year". Nice phraseology. I wonder if they refused their 2005 bonus for hitting the wrong target in July of that year?
"We are not democrats for, among other reasons, democracy sooner or later leads to war and dictatorship. Just as we are not supporters of dictatorships, among other things, because dictatorship arouses a desire for democracy, provokes a return to democracy, and thus tends to perpetuate a vicious circle in which human society oscillates between open and brutal tyranny and a lying freedom." - Errico Malatesta, Democracy and Anarchy 1924