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Top cop Blair quits because of Boris

PUBLISHED: 18:19 02 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:27 07 September 2010

LONDON - JULY 02:  (L-R) Boris Johnson and Sir Ian Blair attend a news conference regarding knife crime on July 2, 2008 in London, England. The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and the Mayor of London discussed the current problems of knife crime among teenagers.  (Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images)

LONDON - JULY 02: (L-R) Boris Johnson and Sir Ian Blair attend a news conference regarding knife crime on July 2, 2008 in London, England. The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and the Mayor of London discussed the current problems of knife crime among teenagers. (Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images)

2008 Getty Images

London's top cop Sir Ian Blair resigned today (Wednesday), claiming he was forced out of his job. Sir Ian, a former head of CID at Kentish Town, said Mayor Boris Johnson had made it clear he could not work with him. The commissioner, who has courted contr

London's top cop Sir Ian Blair resigned today (Wednesday), claiming he was forced out of his job.

Sir Ian, a former head of CID at Kentish Town, said Mayor Boris Johnson had made it clear he could not work with him.

The commissioner, who has courted controversy during his three years in the job, said in a statement: "I'm resigning in the best interests of the people of London and the Metropolitan Police Service.

"I understand that to serve effectively, the commissioner must have the confidence of both the Mayor and the Home Secretary. Without the Mayor's backing I cannot continue effectively in the job."

Sir Ian has faced criticism for his handling of the Jean Charles de Menezes affair as well as the racism row with his most senior Asian officer Tarique Ghaffur.

Conservative Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden Brian Coleman said: "This is a wonderful afternoon. He should have gone a year ago when the Assembly passed a vote of no confidence in him.

"He was a disaster for London and a disaster for the Met. Well done to Boris for forcing him out - this mayor means business and I am delighted Boris is showing such leadership.

"It was just one mistake after another, we all make mistakes but for him there has been a succession.

"The Menezes shooting showed what chaos there is at senior levels of the Met; that comment he made on the Soham murders and then the latest case with Tarique Ghaffur. He is an appalling manager - good riddance."

Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn Ed Fordham said: "Sir Ian Blair's tenure in office will not be remembered fondly in Camden. He failed to take seriously the concerns over local policing and created a nervousness that what was coming would be centralised policing from faceless warehouses. His departure creates an opportunity to rebuild confidence and to push community policing out of a fortress mentality and down to local communities. Policing working out of West Hampstead, Hampstead and Kentish Town Police Stations is much more effective and efficient and Sir Ian's departure makes that a possibility into the future.

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