The head of the Metropolitan Police has resigned, and the government is in uproar. Formerly, the appointment as Metropolitan Police Commissioner was in the hands of the Home Secretary, but since the creation of London regional government, the Mayor of London has taken over as chair of the police authority. And the Mayor of London, for the first time since the post was created, is in opposition to the fundamental bases of Labour policy on fighting crime.
As a result, there is confusion about how the resignation came about and what to do next. Boris Johnson, elected in May as Conservative mayor, has made it plain all along that he did not think Sir Ian Blair was doing a good job, and Sir Ian has now resigned. While it is not formally in the power of the mayor to sack the head of the police, it has been proved that it is within his power to get him to resign.
Reaction from the government is one of dismay, partly because they liked the broad thrust of the policies pursued by Sir Ian, but mainly because the decision about how London should be policed has been taken out of their hands. But isn’t that what devolution is for?