London police chief resigns: reports

October 2nd, 2008 - 10:03 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Oct 2 (IANS) The controversial police chief of London has resigned after weeks of allegations about his conduct, the British media said Thursday quoting unnamed sources.The Evening Standard said Sir Ian Blair, chief of London Metropolitan Police, which is responsible for policing the British capital and its neighbouring areas, has resigned due to “personal reasons”.

The BBC said Blair was expected to make an official statement Thursday afternoon local time.

The London police chief has been controversial since taking over the high-profile job in 2005 - a slew of race allegations has been brought against him by the most senior Asian officers in the force, claiming they were overlooked for promotion because of their race.

Crucially, the reported resignation comes amid an inquest into the Met Police’s killing of Brazilian Charles de Menezes who was mistaken for a terrorist in the aftermath of the 7/7 London suicide bombings in July 2005.

It also comes just a day after London’s new conservative mayor Boris Johnson took over as the chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority - a man to whom Blair would have to answer. Blair was said to have been close to former British premier Tony Blair and Labour’s former mayor Ken Livingstone.

Ian Blair has also been accused of awarding lucrative communications contracts to a friend of his.

The Times newspaper on its internet edition quoted an unnamed source as saying, “It is a combination of things - a new mayor in London who does not support him, the inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, and the inquiry into how Scotland Yard contracts were awarded.”

Blair, 55, has been accused of racial discrimination by Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, his most senior Asian officer, who was last month ordered to take leave pending an employment tribunal hearing.

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