London

Ex-Met Commissioner Sir Ian Blair given life peerage

  • 28 May 2010
  • From the section London
Sir Ian Blair
Image caption Sir ian was criticised over the innocent Brazilian's killing in July 2005

The former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Ian Blair has said his elevation to the House of Lords was a "tribute" to Met officers.

Sir Ian, who left the force in December 2008 citing differences with Mayor Boris Johnson, was given a life peerage in the Dissolution Honours List.

He was lauded for reforming the Met but was also criticised over Jean Charles de Menezes' shooting in July 2005.

Mr de Menezes' family said the life peerage was a "final slap in the face".

Following the announcement of the honour, Sir Ian said: "I hope it will be seen primarily as a tribute to the men and women of the Metropolitan Police whom I had the privilege to command.

"I look forward to participating in the work of the House of Lords in the future."

But Vivian Figueiredo, the 27-year-old cousin of Mr de Menezes, said: "We are disgusted at this decision.

"As commissioner, we believe Ian Blair was ultimately accountable for the death of Jean, for the lies told and the cover-up.

"He even tried to stop the IPCC [Independent Police Complaints Commission] investigating our cousin's death. This is a final slap in the face for our family."

Modernising policing

Since joining the force in 1974 from his first constable beat in London's Soho Sir Ian rose through the ranks to become the Commissioner in February 2005.

He was praised for introducing community support officers, neighbourhood policing and was a leading force in modernising policing.

He was also at the forefront of overhauling national security strategy, specially in the aftermath of 7 July 2005 bombings in London.

But he was criticised over the shooting of Brazilian electrician Mr de Menezes at Stockwell station, south London, by armed officers who mistook him for a suicide bomber.

The Met was found guilty of breaching health and safety laws but no individual officer faced charges.

He was also criticised for his apparent closeness to New Labour and his handling of a string of race claims from officers from the ethnic minority.

He quit his job in 2008, 14 months before the end of his tenure, after Boris Johnson took over as the chairman of the Met's governing body, the Metropolitan Police Authority.

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