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Thursday, November 17, 2005

Met Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair

I was very impressed with Sir Ian Blair's call for a fresh national debate on policing in his Dimbleby Lecture last night.

Transcript of Sir Ian Blair's speech

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair believes he and the other chief constables are now in charge of public bodies that are expected to be everything from social services to special forces.

Britons have to say what kind of policing they want, says Sir Ian

Sir Ian argued in his Dimbleby lecture that there was a very particular reason for this. The decline in other forms of social authority. The loss of influence by the church, trade unions and voluntary clubs.

This he couples with the disappearance of what he describes as "agents of social enforcement" such as park keepers, caretakers and bus conductors.

The result is that the police are now the centre of attention and Sir Ian is arguing that there needs to be a more mature debate about their role and how society intends to cope with problems ranging from binge drinking to suicide bombing.

He has been critical of both politicians and the media for being obsessed with police numbers as the core of the crime debate.

Senior officers have made it clear that they were livid at what they regarded as perfectly normal police advice being regarded as political lobbying.

Sir Ian says that the citizens of Britain now have to say what kind of police service they want.

Further reports on this subject include.

Middle classes too posh to join us, says Met chief
Police seen as 'social guardians'
Ian Blair makes his mark


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