Sunday, 7 April 2013

Does Paris Brown row highlight dubious standards of Kent Police boss?

In her election statement to become Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent last year, Ann Barnes wrote “In Policing (sic), trust is everything”.

These were the words of now one of the most powerful chiefs in the country, used to garner the support of the electorate in her bid for the position.

‘Trust’ Miss Barnes, something we must have in our police force I am sure you would agree.

This is undoubtedly why you relied on the word to win confidence from those who subsequently put you in post.

Trust that the police will protect the public from crime and disorder.

Enforce laws which protect out society from crime including burglary, robbery, fraud, arson, rape and hate crimes.

Hate crimes, Miss Barnes  -  that is the abuse of people on the basis of colour, religion, creed or sexual orientation.

I point this out because you appear to be unsure of the definition.

It’s quite high up on the agenda of many, many who would speak out if they witnessed someone hurling the words “faggot” or “pikey” at another person in the street.

Not you though, it would seem.

In a perverse twist to what any right-minded citizen would assume to be your role, you feel it is your place to defend inciting hatred.

You feel racially abusive slurs and homophobic insults need merely to be taken in the right “context”.

You claim that when used by someone too young to understand their meaning, they are to be excused. That someone, Miss Barnes, is Paris Brown.

Miss Brown was recently hired as the country’s first Youth Police Commissioner, she is a teenager not too young to pick up the associated salary of £15,000 of taxpayers’ money.

But the 17-year-old put in charge of “bridging the gap between police and young people” just four days after being appointed emerged as less than squeaky clean.

She sparked a national outrage by taking to Twitter to launch a vile and abusive attack against gays, foreigners and “pikeys”.

The Daily Mail revealed she posted a barrage of foul-mouthed, abusive, violent, racist and anti-gay comments that only came to light after her appointment.

This exemplar of the community, who is to lead Kent’s young people, be a role model and guide the vulnerable towards what is right and good thinks “pikeys” - that’s those of foreign descent to unenlightened - steal the metal off train tracks.

She also has a problem with “faggots” knocking on her door, and highlights that employees of a pizza delivery firm should “learn it [English]’.

Her comments were peppered with a colourful array of expletives which for the purposes of decency I have omitted.

The article, as you might expect, provoked a furious reaction. Apparently many out there feel she is not up to the job.

That is those that abhor racism, homophobia and the torrent of hate which some people feel is ok to spew on social media.

Many feel this, but not apparently Ann Barnes, the woman who hired her.

Miss Barnes says the comments were simply “taken out of context”.

Forgive me if I fail to understand, Miss Barnes, but how can “Everyone on Made in Chelsea looks like a ******* fag” be taken any other way than ‘in’ context.

While we’re at it, that also applies to “i can speak ******* english its the illegals on the other end that cant (sic)”.

And what of Miss Brown’s thoughts on violence and drugs? She is representing the police after all.

“Im so pleased that my brother punched the fat little **** that gave his tiny little friend a black eye”.

That reads plain and simple, no context to be deciphered there then.

And overall, how does this young lady describe herself?

Again on Twitter she was kind enough to give a one-line resume: “Im either really fun, friendly and inclusive when I’m drunk or Im an anti social, racist, sexist, embarrassing ****. often its the latter (sic throughout)”.

I don’t think much of your spelling or grammar either while we’re at it.

And her previous Twitter account profile give another insight into her stance on racism.

Miss Brown appeared yesterday, after being caught out, tear-stained and remorseful, insisting her comments were taken “out of context and that she is “only young”.

Not too young to pick up a £15,000 pay cheque in a highly responsible job with the police it would appear. Too young perhaps to have an un-monitored Twitter account maybe.

But the worse part of this whole sorry debacle is not the actions of a teenager put into a position of responsibility far above her obvious capabilities, but the response of the one who put her there.

As the controversy gathered pace Ann Barnes, who collects a salary of £85,000 a year, boldly stated Miss Brown would not be removed from position.

The comments about faggots and pikeys were just a bit “silly and offensive”, she said.

I suspect that many young people go through a phase during which they make silly, often offensive comments and show off on Facebook and Twitter.

“I think that if everyone's future was determined by what they wrote on social networking sites between the ages of 14 and 16 we'd live in a very odd world.

“There is no way I would think of removing her from her post and I am sure Paris will learn from this mistake and be able to move forward to making a success of the role like I know she will.”

“Silly and offensive” Miss Brown? makes it sound quite innocuous, but you of all people should know hate crime is anything but - and if you don’t I would question your suitability for the role.

“Silly and offensive” comments have pushed teenagers to take their own lives, bullied to the point of despair by people who, as you would no doubt argue, had their words taken out of context..

“Silly and offensive” comments have landed people in jail, they are banned in the street, on the football pitch, in classes and workplaces.

Most of decent society agrees on that, apart from you it would seem.

Perhaps, Miss Barnes, your stolid stance comes from an urgent need to defend your reputation, one which is in danger of sinking into the mudbath which has begun to swirl all around you.

I urge Miss Barnes to look very carefully at her stance on this, and decide whether it would not be best that this teenager be swiftly  shown the door and the decision to hire her be chalked up as a very bad one.

If not, I question her own  suitability to lead the police, and whether her resignation may be the only way to put a full stop at the end of this very distasteful affair.


  1. Hi Nathan

    I'm sorry I'm not able to log in to comment because It doesn't accept the only one I use - Twitter.

    I would suggest 'context' in this case is age. The ill-advised tweets were apparently send when she was 14-15 and it's fair to say if you looked at the timelines of 14-15 year olds (even many older) for words like faggots they'll be thousands probably millions of references to that word alone. We can rest assured all the people aren't homophobes and I've no doubt Paris isn't either.

    I'm quite frankly surprised at how hysterical you've been on this. It's disappointing bearing in mind your media status and I would have expected you think things through. Unless you want to start expunging words from our language, young people will continue to use them, sometimes in a derogatory way but mostly just to fit it. We're getting their in the struggle against racism and homophobia but I don't think your barrage of attacks on this young girl are constructive.

    1. As a 20 year old I can assure you that in no 'context' does faggot mean anything other than faggot. It's a homophobic term and most young adults refrain from using it, Paris is in the very small minority that do.

      As for the media coverage, she was considered adult enough to be put on government payroll she should be adult enough to deal with the consequences of her actions.

    2. "Most young adults refrain from using it", "Paris isn't in the very small minorty"? Really, so not only are you twenty but you are a psychic omni-being that can speak for every young adult on the planet due to your all encompassing knowledge? Get lost, you don't speak for anyone but yourself.

      Also if you are so sure that faggot does not mean anything other than a homophobic term then explain to me how I can eat faggots, peas and mash with my grandmother or faggot some sticks together for a campfire?

      Go out of your way to be offended elsewhere.