Boris Johnson to stand down as police chairman

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London mayor Boris Johnson confirmed today he will stand down as chairman of Scotland Yard's board of governors.

Mr Johnson, speaking at City Hall in London, said he was proposing to stand down as chairman of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) to make way for deputy mayor Kit Malthouse.

"I do believe that the Metropolitan Police Service is doing a fantastic job and I am very content that crime is coming down," he said.

"I think in view of the changes that are coming to the MPA, in view of the reforms that are under way, it would be a good thing if we changed the chair of the MPA and I am proposing to stand down."

He added: "I can reassure you and reassure members of the MPA that my links with the Commissioner (Sir Paul Stephenson) are as strong and as robust as ever."

The Tory politician took control of the MPA in October 2008 after ousting Sir Ian Blair from his post as commissioner.

Mr Malthouse, who is deputy mayor for policing, is currently vice chairman of the MPA, a post he has held for the last two years.

Mr Johnson paid tribute to his "first rate" record as MPA vice chairman.

A statement from the Mayor of London's office said Mr Malthouse had a "vast knowledge" of policing issues in the capital and is committed to delivering the "best police force" for the capital.

"The direct line of accountability between the Metropolitan Police Service and the people of London will remain with the mayor who was democratically elected with a mandate over policing," it said.

"The mayor also believes that, as an independent body of experts working to improve policing in London, the MPA should put party politics aside.

"To this end, he is proposing Reshard Auladin OBE, a well-respected independent voice on the MPA, as vice-chair to work alongside Kit Malthouse."

The statement added that crime remains a "top priority" for Mr Johnson.

"While no longer overseeing the day-to-day operation of the MPA, the mayor will be more involved than ever, having fortnightly meetings with the commissioner and his senior staff, as well as embarking on a systematic programme of visits to crime hotspots in the capital, speaking directly to the people affected and the officers working on the ground."

Dee Doocey, Liberal Democrat London Assembly policing spokeswoman and MPA member, welcomed the announcement that Mr Johnson is to step down as MPA chairman.

She said: "This is welcome news as the mayor has never been on top of this incredibly important job.

"I just hope that, unlike Boris Johnson, Kit Malthouse actually reads and understands the Met's budget and then sets out to immediately reverse the damaging cuts in police numbers which the mayor has for so long denied."