By Rainbow Network – Tuesday 15th October, 2002
Copyright: Rainbow Network
It’s been a rough 12 months for Metropolitan Police Commander Brian Paddick. Despite the news yesterday that he won’t be facing criminal charges over drugs allegations, Paddick will not return to his former job in Lambeth.
Paddick is Britain`s highest ranking openly gay officer, and following drug allegations made by a former boyfriend he has was moved to a less controversial desk job within the force.
Paddick’s career move is now official as he was appointed to implement the National Intelligence Model, the Metropolitan Police`s recently developed blueprint for reducing crime.
Supporters of Paddick claim he is the “victim of contrived allegations” and are demanding his reinstatement.
The next few weeks are critical in the future of Paddick who can now speak without openly about his situation.
In an email to supporters this week, he wrote
“The tabloid newspapers should not be allowed to dictate to the people of Lambeth or the Commissioner who they have as the Borough Commander for Lambeth… Nothing less than being restored to my post as Borough Commander for Lambeth will do. I am taking advice from employment lawyers – Lambeth or bust!”
Brian Paddick- Quick Guide
Who is this guy?
Paddick is Britain’s highest-ranking openly gay police officer. Once described as an “Oxford educated Yard high-flier,” Paddick began his career in the police force 25 years ago. Since then he has risen through the ranks and now heads the London borough of Lambeth’s police force. His patch includes Brixton, where he worked on the beat in 1982.
Why is he in the news?
Paddick first became fodder for the tabloids in 2001 when he introduced a softly-softly approach to drug use in Lambeth. Under his scheme, dealers will still be prosecuted, but people found with small amounts of cannabis will only be cautioned and their drugs confiscated. The idea is to divert police resources from administrating time-consuming minor drug-related offences and focus instead on the harder drug and street-crime problem in Lambeth. Home Secretary David Blunkett gave a “cautious welcome” to the scheme.
So who is ‘The Commander’? What’s his interest in anarchism?
‘The Commander’ is Paddick’s screen name on the messageboards of Urban75.com, a website devoted to rave culture and alternative politics. Paddick has developed a respectful following amongst the site’s users, initiating and taking part in debates about the police and drugs in perhaps the only forum where such discussions could occur openly.
On one occasion he said that he found the concept of anarchism “appealing”. His comments were inevitably leaked to the press, quoted out of context and thus began the second media furore. He attended a disciplinary meeting with his boss, Sir John Stevens, and Blunkett blasted his comments as inappropriate.
What has his ex-boyfriend been saying about him? Something about smoking dope?
James Renolleau told the Mail on Sunday that Paddick had smoked cannabis with him on hundreds of occasions. Paddick denied this, but conceded that his ex may have smoked the drug at his home. Renolleau also claimed that Paddick went to gay saunas and had casual sex with strangers. He said that Paddick contravened police rules when the pair met by not disclosing to his management that Renolleau was on bail for theft.
Hmm, do I detect a whiff of homophobia?
In January Paddick complained of being the target of a homophobic whispering campaign against him, his boyfriend and his ex-wife. Paddick has said that although the police force is less homophobic than it used to be, there are still many officers who resent his position as an openly gay commander and would like to see him resign.
Meanwhile the tabloids have been baying for Paddick’s blood for a long time. Richard Littlejohn called Paddick a “bent copper” in the Sun. He went on to say: “Scotland Yard is terrified of being called ‘homophobic’ and consequently has allowed Mr Paddick plenty of slack. [But] We want Robocop, not one of the Village People…Not so much ‘Hello, Hello, Hello’ as ‘Hello, Sailor’.” Even Janet Street-Porter recognised that Paddick has become “a focus for homophobic elements in the media.” She said: “What we are seeing is gay-bashing disguised as reporting in the public interest.”
What happens now?
Paddick said that he has the overwhelming support of his officers in Lambeth as well as the local people. He wants to get back to work in Lambeth despite being moved to a new post working with the National Intelligence Model. He is currently considering his next move.