Home / Events / Annual Lectures

Ian Blair: Religion and Public Order

Ian Blair: Religion and Public Order

Ian Blair, Baron Blair of Boughton, former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, delivered the third annual Theos lecture on 16th November 2010.

Interested by this? Share it on social media. Join our monthly e–newsletter to keep up to date with our latest research and events. And check out our Friends Programme to find out how you can help our work.

Ian Blair, Baron Blair of Boughton, former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, gave the 2010 Theos Annual Lecture at One Birdcage Walk, Westminster.

Lord Blair reflected on the nature of his own religious faith, and acknowledged that religion could be a source of intolerance and violence in the world but said that it was principally a force for good – and should be at the basis of a decent society.

“All religions have, as their core belief, the need for love, for respect for others, for tolerance,” Lord Blair said.

A practising Anglican, he noted that “The greatest achievements and ambitions of human social history, such as the abolition of slavery and the provision of universal education or free health care for all, have had their origins in religious impulse.” However, he admitted that “This is not the image of religion in this past century or this past decade.”

“The agonies of the Palestinian–Israeli relationship, the sectarianism of ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland, and the arrival of suicide bombers in the West are obscuring the basic decency that comes from the commandments to peace contained in all religions,” he said.

The lecture was chaired by writer and broadcaster John Humphrys, presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and BBC 2’s Mastermind.

Ian Blair

Ian Blair

Baron Blair of Boughton was Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis from 2005 to 2008 and Britain’s highest–ranking policeman. He joined the Metropolitan Police in 1974, before becoming Deputy Chief Constable of Thames Valley Police and then Chief Constable of Surrey Police.

Watch, listen to or read more from Ian Blair

1 Birdcage Walk
London SW1H 9JJ


See all


See all

In the news

See all


See all

Get regular email updates on our latest research and events.

Please confirm your subscription in the email we have sent you.

Want to keep up to date with the latest news, reports, blogs and events from Theos? Get updates direct to your inbox once or twice a month.

Thank you for signing up.