Britain's top policeman has pledged to put more officers on the streets in more visible patrols in the most radical shake-up of the country's largest force since it was created nearly 200 years ago.
Speaking exclusively to The Observer, Sir Ian Blair, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, disclosed that he would be unveiling this 'step-change' in the fight against crime at a special meeting of his board of top officers and civilian staff on Wednesday.
'No other reform programme has been so fundamental,' one of his senior colleagues said. 'Everything - our management, leadership and values - is being re-examined.' The result, Blair said, would be a police service that delivered what politicians, the media and London's citizens have been demanding for years - many more patrols on the streets, organised in small community units.