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Mayor, media and MPs back 'honest cop' Brian Paddick
exclusive by Matthew Collin, Big Issue, 11th March 2002
Drugs experts, community leaders, MPs, magazine editors, newspaper columnists and London mayor Ken Livingstone have all backed controversial police commander Brian Paddick by signing an open letter to his boss.
Paddick has been attacked in the press for his softly-softly approach to the policing of cannabis offenders in the Lambeth area of south London, for his comments on drugs and anarchism on a website bulletin board - first revealed in The Big Issue three weeks ago - and for being Britain's only high-profile openly gay cop.
Paddick returns to work this week after a three-week holiday and is expected to have to answer to his Metropolitan Police superiors for his outspoken comments on the Urban75 website that caused the media furore.
However, his supporters state: "Paddick should be cheered rather than censured. He is an asset not only to Lambeth and to the Met, but to the entire police force."
The open letter to Sir John Stevens, commissioner of the Met, applauds Paddick's "progressive response to the drugs crisis" and his "imaginative and innovative use of the internet to communicate openly and honestly with the local community".
Signatories to the letter include the editors of weekly magazines Time Out, The Pink Paper and The Big Issue, broadcasters Robert Elms and Mark Thomas, journalists from The Voice, The Independent, The Guardian and The Mail On Sunday, MPs Brian Iddon and Paul Flynn and drugs agencies Lifeline, Release and Transform.
Community leaders from Paddick's Lambeth beat are also represented, including Dean of Lambeth The Reverend Canon Richard Truss, the Community-Police Consultative Group For Lambeth, and Valerie Shawcross, Greater London Authority member for Lambeth and Southwark.
In praise of paddick
An open letter to John Stevens, Commissioner, Metropolitan Police. We wish to register our support for Metropolitan Police commander Brian Paddick.
We applaud his imaginative and innovative use of the internet to communicate openly and honestly with the community in the London borough of Lambeth, and are appalled at the distorted and homophobic way in which his views have been represented in some sections of the media.
Commander Paddick has employed a progressive response to the drugs crisis in the Lambeth area, focusing his resources on substances which cause serious social and health problems rather than wasting precious police time on processing minor cannabis arrests.
Paddick should be cheered rather than censured. He is an asset not only to Lambeth and to the Met, but to the entire police force.
Matthew Collin, Editor, The Big Issue
Laura Lee Davies, Editor, Time Out
ken livingstone, mayor of London
Community-Police Consultative Group for Lambeth
The Reverend Canon Richard Truss, Dean of Lambeth
Valerie Shawcross, GLA member, Lambeth & Southwark
Tris Reid-Smith, Editor, The Pink Paper
vic motune, news editor, the voice
Polly Toynbee, journalist
Suzanne Moore, journalist
Deborah Orr, journalist
Ekow Eshun, journalist
Robert Elms, broadcaster
Mark Thomas, broadcaster
The Lifeline Project
Paul Flynn MP
Brian Iddon MP
John Wadham, Director, Liberty
Shane Collins, Green Party Drugs Group
Paul Macey, Creative Collective
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