Inquiry into 'dope-smoking' police chief

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The Independent Online

Controversial police chief Commander Brian Paddick has been moved from his job while an inquiry is carried out into allegations that he breached disciplinary regulations, the Metropolitan Police Authority said today.

The inquiry will be carried out by an outside police force under the supervision of the Police Complaints Authority.

Commander Paddick, who heads police in Lambeth, south London, has not been suspended but has been switched to another role within the Metropolitan Police until the outcome of the inquiry.

It follows allegations by the officer's former lover, James Renolleau, that Commander Paddick smoked cannabis at their London flat.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police Authority said: "Following discussions with Commissioner Sir John Stevens the MPA has today decided to ask an independent police officer from an outside force under the supervision of the Police Complaints Authority to conduct an inquiry into the allegations that Commander Brian Paddick has committed a breach of the police disciplinary regulation.

"Commander Paddick has not been suspended but the authority has obliged the commissioner that Commander Paddick should be removed from his current post to another role until the investigation is carried out."

Authority chairman Lord Harris said: "I have been impressed by recent progress made by Commander Paddick in his efforts to build up relationships with the community in Lambeth and drive down crime. I hope these improvements will continue."

The latest controversy comes a week after Commander Paddick was summoned to meet Sir John after making comments on an Internet website that he found the concept of anarchy "attractive".

On Sunday Mr Renolleau claimed to have shared at least 100 joints with the senior policeman. In a newspaper article he also claimed Commander Paddick, 43, who pioneered a "softly softly" approach to cannabis in Lambeth, had allowed him to take the drug at a flat they shared.

There were also allegations that when their five-year relationship began Commander Paddick failed to inform his superiors that his boyfriend was on police bail pending a fraud investigation.

Commander Paddick has admitted that Mr Renolleau smoked cannabis in the flat and "totally" rejected other claims.

They included allegations about picking up a male sexual partner on the Gatwick Express and seeking sex in seedy sauna parlours.

Before today's decision Commander Paddick said: "On the couple of occasions James purchased some cannabis while we were living together and smoked it in front of me.

"I argued with him about the implications for me being in the same place while he was doing this, if the media found out that my partner was smoking cannabis in my flat it would put my career at risk.

"I never went to any gay saunas."