'Anarchy' Met chief returns, unbowed, to the chatrooms

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The Independent Online

At 6.26am, he was back. Unbowed by headlines about his views on anarchy, "Brian: The Commander" – Britain's most famous cybercop – was patrolling the chatroom badlands.

But unlike his previous forays on to a direct action website, yesterday's contributions from Commander Brian Paddick were mild. No praise of chaos. No exhortations to "screw the dealers". Indeed, the only problem was that he was due to meet Britain's most senior policeman hours later to be reprimanded for internet use.

Mr Paddick, who is in charge of policing in the London borough of Lambeth was hauled before Sir John Stevens, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, for what Scotland Yard described as a "discussion". There was no mistaking, however, that he was receiving an old-fashioned carpeting for activities under his nom de keyboard, Brian: The Commander, on the alternative website urban75.com.

The Yard said it supported the commander's use of chatrooms to reach "diverse communities". But it added: "While there is no question of any breach of discipline, concern was expressed about some of the language he used, its wider interpretation and the impact on his role."

This was a reference to earlier attempts at cyberpolicing, during which Mr Paddick said the concept of anarchism appealed to him, and advocated legalisation of drugs.

But the opprobrium of the conservative lobby and the strength of the Yard's reaction were not enough to force a chastened Brian: The Commander into retirement.

Refreshed after a holiday in Australia and Asia, Mr Paddick had posted three messages by 6.41am yesterday. He wrote: "Hi guys, I'm back!! Being a bit cautious to begin with. I hope you understand. I am still listening and taking it all in."

Asked whether he felt "used", back came the reply: "I'm back. I'm posting. End of argument."