London police chief denies being ousted from his job

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London, Sept.5 : Britain's most senior police officer, Sir Ian Blair, has denied claims that he is being removed from his post owing to the controversies surrounding him, especially charges of racial discrimination.

He quoted the Mark Twain saying: "The report of my death is an exaggeration" and added, defiantly: "I have a job to do: I am getting on with it and will continue to do so."

According to The Telegraph, the rebuttal comes as a counter to reports that Blair was being cajoled by the Home Office into making an "honourable exit" after the end of the inquest into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes in December.

It was claimed that the first step would be for Sir Ian to receive a letter this week telling him that his contract will not be renewed when it expires in February 2010.

However Sir Ian said that the allegation has "no basis in fact". Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, also issued a statement saying she has "full confidence" in the Commissioner.

Since the shooting of Mr.de Menezes in 2005, the Commissioner has publicly rejected demands for him to quit on nine other occasions. Last November he said he was no "lame-duck commissioner" and in December he described himself as "a bit of a limpet".

Senior insiders at Scotland Yard said that Sir Ian had been not been informed of any Home Office plans and he would not quit his job without a fight.

But the police chief is increasingly isolated at Scotland Yard and remains under attack on three fronts.

Last week, Tarique Ghaffur, Britain's most senior-ranked Asian officer and "No.3" at the Met, directly accused him of being a racist. He firmly denies the race discrimination claim and a damaging legal action is due before an employment tribunal early next year.

The Commissioner is also the subject of an inquiry about three million pounds worth of contracts at Scotland Yard which were awarded to a company run by an old skiing companion, Andy Miller.

This month, Sir Ian will face charges of systemic failure by his force on the day of the Stockwell Tube shooting of Mr.de Menezes, who was wrongly identified as a suicide bomber on July 22, 2005.

Sir Ian, who has been on holiday in Europe for the past few weeks, returned to his desk this week.

ANI

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