Police Commissioner tries to block independent inquiry

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, suggested a change in the law in the wake of the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes so that he would not have to provide information to an independent inquiry being carried out by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

On the day that Mr de Menezes, an electrician from Brazil, was shot dead by police, Mr Blair wrote to Home Office Permanent Secretary Sir John Gieve stating that he should be able to suspend a legal requirement to give material to the IPCC.

The existence of Sir Ian's letter, in which he said he had decided the IPCC should not be allowed to investigate the shooting, first came to light six weeks ago but it was published in full by the Home Office on 30 September following a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

Mr Blair argued in his letter that revealing information to external investigators, as he was required to do under section 17 of the Police Reform Act, could compromise police tactics and intelligence sources as well as put lives at risk. IPCC officials claim Mr Blair's initial resistance to their involvement delayed their investigations and that they have had to "work hard" to recover lost ground.

Met chief in 'cover up' attempt over shooting (Daily Mail, 30 September 2005)

Sir Ian's letter against probe (The Scotsman, 1 October 2005)