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Ray Mallon has an indirect answer to this in today's Telegraph when he speaks of there being only two "communities" of concern for a police chief - the law abiding (protect them) and the criminals (catch them). Applying this to the present issue, any sensible candidate for the top job at the Met should assert that his views on 42 day detention are (a) private and (b) irrelevant to the effective discharge of his duty in protecting the law abiding and catching criminals, for one simple reason - he is not a politician.

How would we feel if a Labour mayor elected on other issues decided that he or she would veto any Met candidate who had ever supported stop and search?

Boris is going too far on this one.

Posted by: David Cooper | October 05, 2008 at 09:54
David, an absolutely brilliant comment - and in a perfect world would be completely correct. Unfortunately, in Labours' world, the professional head of a Police Service (yuk) HAS to be politically aware, and IS a political appointee. Hence Boris, knowing what The Home Secretary is likely to do, will use his office to stall a permanent appointment for as long as he can get away with it. I daresay that the newly re-appointed "Princes of Evil" will be on Boris' case pretty quickly. The result will show the world just how capable Boris actually is.

I haven't heard Boris say he would block someone because of 42 days.
He shouldn't, but by the same token the government shouldn't send the Met Chief into the Palace of Westminster to lobby for government policy.
It is extraordinary to watch them accusing us of politicizing the job.
I must say at this point that I'm not pro elected police chiefs. I am however pro elected Police Authorities.

This litmus test would be so wrong that I doubt it exists. I cannot imagine that Boris would be so intolerant and prejudiced against difference of opinion honestly expressed.

David Cooper has it right. Whoever it is should have no public opinion whatsoever, and should just do the best with what the politician's give him. End of story i.e a pre 1997 world.

David Coopers's first comment is about as good as it gets.

Keep the Commissioner out of politics. That goes as much for Labour's past misdemeanour's and for the philosophy Boris should adopt in future.

I would also like to keep the commissioner out of party politics but wonder how possible that is in the real world. Ian Blair may have believed passionately in locking people up without charge for 42 days and would have been quite right to make his views known to the Home Sec and Mayor. His mistake (one of many) was to campaign for it publically. That is not the role of a police Commissioner and never should be.

This morning this was black and white (red and blue?) to me. Since then it has become grey (magenta?).

If a civil servant in the FCO were to write newspaper articles calling for the end of the Commonwealth, they’d have breached their code, probably be sacked and promotion would be out of the question.

On the other hand we're quite happy for generals to publicly campaign for issues that we currently agree with, e.g. better equipment, better conditions, more troops, etc.

We didn't like Ian Blair’s campaigning because we didn't agree with it. However, we have to decide whether the Met Chief is more like a general or a civil servant. If we say "civil servant", the rules they're expected to work under should be part of their contract. We can't retrospectively punish them if the rules change.

David Cooper has got it exactly right. Any policeman has to work within the framework of the existing law. It is up to the opposition parties to overturn the law, not the Met Chief.

Having said that, it is clearly highly undesirable for the Met Chief to be answerable to both the Home Secretary and the Mayor.

Cannot terror investigations be conducted by one force, answerable to the Home Secretary, and "normal" crime in London by a separate force, answerable to the Mayor? Clearly the two forces would co-operate closely when necessary.

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