MPs call for youth PCC Paris Brown to resign
Monday 08 April 2013
There were growing calls today for Britain's first youth police and crime commissioner to resign over inappropriate language and views she posted on her Twitter account.
Paris Brown, 17, wrote violent, racist and anti-gay comments on her feed before she became the first youth PCC for Kent on £15,000 a year to represent young people's views on policing.
She has made a tearful apology for the offensive tweets, which included references to taking drugs, that were posted by her from the ages of 14 to 16, but have now been deleted.
Miss Brown, from Sheerness, Kent, was appointed to the post last week by Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes, who has continued today to defend the youngster, saying the appointment last week was not a gimmick.
"I am going to stand by her and I am going to try and help work through this," she said.
But South Thanet Conservative MP Laura Sandys said on Twitter: "Paris Brown should step down as youth crime Tsar for Kent... Gimmicks always backfire."
Fellow Kent Tory MP Damian Collins also called for the teenager to go.
The member for Folkestone and Hythe told the Press Association: "I do not think the role should have been created in the first place.
"I feel sorry for Paris Brown to be put in this position where there is such a high level of scrutiny about what she has said.
"She is going to be under constant pressure to explain what she meant and it's best that this young person should rebuild her life away from intense media scrutiny.
"I think that it's best if it would be Ann Barnes to take that decision herself and say that creating the post was a mistake."
Mr Collins added the £15,000 salary could have been better used when resources were tight and if Mrs Barnes wanted to hear what young people had to say about policing in Kent there were organisations she could have gone to or she could have asked young people herself.
Labour's Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz also called for Miss Brown to resign yesterday.
In a statement yesterday Miss Brown said: "I deeply apologise for any offence caused by my use of inappropriate language and for any inference of inappropriate views.
"I am not homophobic, racist or violent and am against the taking of drugs.
"If I'm guilty of anything it's showing off and wildly exaggerating on Twitter and I am very ashamed of myself."
Mrs Barnes, 67, who is paying £5,000 of Miss Brown's salary from her own pay, said she did not condone the nature of the tweets but asked for some perspective due to Miss Brown's age.
She said that the teenager was one of 164 applicants for the job and she was the best one and a "confident and articulate woman".
But she told BBC News that her Twitter account had not been vetted when they offered her the job.
"We went through a perfectly normal recruitment process and we had her vetted by the force," she explained.
"Nobody normally looks through anybody's Twitter feed - perhaps that's a lesson for the future. We are living in a different world now."
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