A senior police officer ruled himself out of replacing Sir Ian Blair yesterday as the Association of Chief police officer warned of a 'toxic mix' brewed up by the Mayor.
The chief of West Yorkshire Police said that Boris Johnson had instigated a dangerous new constitutional settlement, in which he did not wish to play a part:
"I am not prepared to set aside my professional judgment and integrity, forged over 36 years, in order to meet short-term political expediency.
"The dislodging of Ian Blair is a demonstration of political will. Along this road lies danger. I am therefore staying put."
Meanwhile the Association of Chief Police Officers spoke out against the increased politicisation of their role:
"Over the last couple of days, the developments which led to the resignation of Sir Ian Blair as Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service have dominated media debate. There is no doubt that the perception, if not the reality, of policing independence is fundamentally altered as a result of the last 48 hours.
“On the Today programme this morning, following consultation with senior colleagues, I set out the dangers we see in allowing drift away from the fine balance of interests between the tripartite players. In our country the duty to preserve the impartiality of policing rests squarely with us all; government, police authorities and chief officers. Politics, policing and vested interests make for a toxic mix.
“The new Lord Chief Justice Igor Judge spoke powerfully at the annual chief police officers’ dinner earlier this year of our history as a nation and the duty of judges and police officers to keep the “Queen’s peace” free from undue influence. Each police force, each police authority, each judge and our press are independent of each other, and perhaps most importantly of all, independent from unwarranted political pressure. All these independencies, by their very existence, support each other by acting as constitutional checks and balances.
“In recent years the balance has shifted. We remain concerned about the unintended consequences of adjustments to terms and conditions which position chief officers more as employees and less as office holders."
As Boris sent a letter to the Metropolitan Police Authority apologising for usurping their constitutional role, its recently departed chairman Len Duvall warned that:
"The Mayor appears to have blundered into this unilateral decision without a thought for the future of policing in London. Any commissioner will now be constantly looking over their shoulder, worried that a change of Mayor or change of government will mean they are forced from office. Londoners need to be confident the police are concentrating on keeping them safe, not worrying whether the Mayor will force them out.
"It seems that Boris has appointed himself judge, jury and executioner and is now compounding matters by indicating that he will not move to replace Sir Ian until a Tory government is elected. The Met must not be allowed to drift without firm leadership and the appointment of Sir Ian's replacement must, as with previous appointments, be made totally on merit; not on party political bias."
While it is clear that Blair's deputy Paul Stephenson is the favourite to replace him, it is also clear that Boris would replace him again if and when a Conservative government is elected.
According to the Evening Standard, Boris has had talks with LA police chief Bill Bratton and is considering pushing for a change in the law to allow for foreigners or even civilians to be allowed to head the force.
But as police officers in his own country fight back and as constitutional chaos spreads across local and national government, Boris himself appears to have gone to ground.
Asked yesterday who he had spoken to about the move he merely repeated that he had 'consulted widely' before making his decision.
But with it clear that neither the MPA, the government, or even David Cameron were consulted, it is not yet clear just who it was who forced his hand.
The Boris Johnson Show
The news that David Cameron was kept in the dark just days after speaking out against the move will further damage relations in a week in which he had hoped to retain all media attention.
In fact despite Cameron's best efforts to keep Boris out of the spotlight at the conference, it is Boris in the end who has had the last word.
But with his move now looking bold at best and reckless at worst, it remains to be seen just what long-term consequences will emerge from the latest episode of the Boris Johnson Show.