Defending Ian Blair isn't something I usually do. At meetings of the Metropolitan Police Authority, I'm normally the one accusing him of defending corporate interests with the over-policing of the climate change camp at Heathrow or the east London arms fair. I get annoyed with his support for new powers and with the overuse of stop-and-search. Ian Blair is not a great champion of civil liberties; he is a just a relatively liberal-minded policeman trying to keep Londoners safe in the scary world of the post-7/7 bombings.
Blair has established a beat police team in every neighbourhood and started to bring back the community-based policing that really connects with people. His record on equality is also strong, especially for women officers. He has pushed through major changes despite strong opposition from the old canteen culture that once dominated the Met. Things aren't perfect, but everyone agrees that the Met is now more local, more accessible and more representative of the communities it polices.
Crime may not be falling fast enough and certain crimes are still being neglected, but the figures are now heading in the right direction: downwards. A succession of attempted terror attacks has also been successfully foiled.
The guilty verdict is damning, but the failings it exposed are those of the system, not individuals. My fear is that, two years on, the same mistake could happen again. Blair had only been commissioner for five months when this tragedy happened. He inherited a shoot-to-kill policy that needs radical review – or preferably scrapping altogether. He has said that he will rethink that policy, and he has a real chance to convince the public that he is the best man to clean up this mess.
Jennifer Jones is a Green Party member of the Metropolitan Police Authority and former deputy mayor of LondonReuse content