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Cops and public say, 'Bring back Paddick'
By Gibby Zobel, Big Issue, 1st April 2002
Police officers and the public are rallying around controversial cop Brian Paddick - with a campaign to reinstate him that is groundbreaking in both its size and scope.
The Big Issue is receiving over 100 messages of support a day calling for the return of the commander to his post in Lambeth, south London. It follows a standing ovation given by an audience of over 300 Lambeth residents during Paddick's surprise visit to an emergency police-community meeting in Brixton last week.
The response was unprecedented in an area which saw anti-police riots 20 years ago and serious disturbances in 1995. Paddick, 43, who was moved from his job pending an investigation into allegations about his private life, thanked his supporters. "All I want is to come back and serve the people of Lambeth," he said, to rapturous applause.
Members of the Community Police Consultative Group for Lambeth passed a motion demanding his immediate reinstatement.
Kevin Boyle of the Lesbian and Gay Police Association, Dave Michael of the Black Police Association, and former chief constable of Devon and Cornwall, John Alderson, have pledged their support for Paddick.
A second Metropolitan police officer, a detective chief inspector, has taken up the baton to join the debate on the Urban75 website where commander Paddick pioneered a police-community debate on drugs and crime.
The officer, writing under the alias 'detective-boy', posted a defiant message titled: "The Commander is not alone!" on the day the allegations against Paddick were made in a Sunday newspaper (March 17).
Formerly based in Brixton, he has continued the detailed discussion with over 30 messages.
Last week the officer, who does not want to be named, said "[Metropolitan Police Commissioner] Sir John Stevens is an extremely able and savvy chief officer.
I am sure that he'll see that, no matter what his own opinion about Brian Paddick is, there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to move community relations on by a quantum leap."
Several other serving officers have been debating regularly on the site.
Thirty-five MPs, including ex-ministers Chris Smith and Tony Banks, have signed an Early Day Motion in Parliament deploring the tabloid "witch-hunt", saying it is "extraordinary that the Metropolitan Police has taken action against him on the basis of a previous boyfriend having committed acts [smoking cannabis in his presence] that the Home Office has now decided are no more serious than a parking offence".
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