David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

David J. Farley of Plympton, Plymouth, United Kingdom

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Am I alone in feeling sorely disappointed at the clamour for the resignation of Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police, over the Stockwell Tube Station fatal shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes following the terrorist attacks upon our capital city on that dreadful 7/7 day? There was utter chaos and confusion around the whole of Central London in the immediate aftermath of those vicious attacks. Within minutes the emergency services were dealing with, not one, but several catastrophic major incidents. I am not at all surprised there was confusion and errors of judgement in that kind of mayhem. Everyone involved did their level best to prevent further explosions and shepherd the general public to places of safety. Remember the utter confusion in New York and Washington following the events of 9/11?

Naturally, I was as shocked as everyone else when it subsequently transpired that an innocent man had been shot dead by the anti-terrorist police. That is to be deeply regretted and the Commissioner promptly apologised for that dreadful mistake once the true facts became clear. Of course, it is right and proper that an in-depth examination should be pursued to learn from the catalogue of faults identified by the recent trial of the Met on Public Health & Safety issues, particularly in relation to the Bronze, Silver and Gold levels in the chain of command practices and procedures. I am reminded of that old saying that "experience is the finest schoolmaster but his fees are high". London had not experienced a disaster on this scale in decades. Hindsight is a wonderful gift! As an operational officer I was often called upon to make instantaneous decisions, frequently in the dead of night, when the hindsight brigade were safely tucked up in their warm beds. It frustrated me beyond belief when the 9am command wonders appeared and questioned my judgement on this or that decision!

As a lifelong and staunch Conservative I never thought I would have cause to criticise a member of the Shadow Cabinet but I have been dismayed by the comments of David Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, in respect of his stance that Sir Ian Blair's position is no longer tenable. Could he himself have done any better? I very much doubt it. This was an act of war declared on our country and in such times we must all stand shoulder to shoulder with the security services in defence of our nation. This policy has stood us well in times past and is equally true in these so called enlightened days. As a Conservative I take no comfort in criticising my party but I take great pleasure in expressing my deep gratitude to "Red Ken" Livingstone, the Mayor of London, and to Ms Jacqui Smith, the Labour Government's Home Secretary, both of whom have steadfastly and publicly supported Sir Ian Blair and refused to join the clamour for his resignation. Yes, we all agree that lessons must be learned and who better to identify and implement them than the man at the helm at the actual time of crisis, Sir Ian himself. If I was serving in the Met right now I would be giving him my full support in the sure knowledge that he is a man of high integrity and great honour who will give 100% backing to his officers if he is satisfied they acted in good faith with total honesty and genuine professionalism. He must stay in command and I am certain the lessons of 7/7 have already been inwardly digested and methodology to deal with them adjusted accordingly.

1 comment:

Annette said...

I have emailed you because I could not get on to your comments yesterday!!
I totally agree that Sir Ian Blair should not resign. Yes it was an error but as I have said in my blog, they/he will never make his mistake again.
He should get everybodys support.

Good blog.