Philobiblon: Sir Ian Blair: A Dangerous Man?

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sir Ian Blair: A Dangerous Man?

Sir Ian Blair is the Commisioner of the Metropolitan Police (London's force), usually described as the "most powerful policeman in Britain". He's also a man who, it appears, has at best a tenuous grasp of the principle of "innocent until proven" guilty, and the rule of law, not to mention community safety.

In a speech last week to other coppers, he proposed, among other things, that police be given the power to take licences off drivers (which would instantly deprive many people of their livelihood) and to issue ASBOs, the orders that can be about matters as trivial as wearing a jacket with a hood but that can result eventually in jail terms.

So that's making the police judges then. As one of the people at the front end of justice, a magistrate in London, says: "The two functions were separated a long time ago - let's keep it that way."

Sir Ian additionally suggested that soldiers be given short, "basic" training before being given jobs as armed police guards. So that's bringing military rule to Britain.

Later in the week, Sir Ian decided that it was time he looked into so-called role models for young people, in the form of Kate Moss (who, in case you're just back from Mars - I'll note has been emerged in a kerfuffle over alleged taking of cocaine). Blair concluded: "We have to look at the impact of this kind of behaviour on impressionable young people."

So that's making police social workers.

But don't worry, the police are very good at investigation of leaks that betray their own incompetence. So they must be doing some police work.

Sir Ian, so he tells us, considered resigning over the shooting of an innocent Brazilian electrician. It is surely time someone suggested it to him again.


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