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Monday, 18 March, 2002, 18:18 GMT
Police chief faces cannabis inquiry
Brian Paddick
Fresh controversy: Commander Brian Paddick
Controversial police commander Brian Paddick has been moved from his job while allegations about his private life are investigated.

Two Sunday newspapers claimed Mr Paddick had allowed his former gay partner James Renolleau to smoke cannabis in his flat and had smoked it himself on more than 100 occasions.


His favourite saying was always 'revenge is a dish best served cold'

Brian Paddick
On his former partner
Mr Paddick, who strongly denies smoking the drug, said he was "disappointed" at having to leave Lambeth where he has pioneered a "softly-softly" approach to cannabis in the Brixton area.

The Metropolitan Police Authority recommended that Mr Paddick be moved to a much less high profile administrative role at Scotland Yard.

The inquiry into his conduct will be carried out by an officer from another force.

Street crime success

Speaking outside Brixton police station, Mr Paddick said he was happy to leave his duties in the hands of his deputy, Brian Moore.

"I see no reason why under Brian's leadership we cannot continue the success that we have achieved in recent months reducing street crime and tackling class A drugs.


We need more Brian Paddicks in the Met

David Michael
Black Police Association
"Obviously, I'm very disappointed to be leaving Lambeth albeit temporarily."

He refused to answer questions about the allegations made against him and said he would not be speaking to the media for "at least a couple of days".

'Revenge' claim

The latest controversy comes just a week after Mr Paddick was summoned to meet Met Commissioner Sir John Stevens after allegedly posting comments on an internet website - www.urban75.com.

He is reported to have said he found the concept of anarchy "attractive" and made remarks supporting the legalisation of some drugs.

Mr Paddick told the London Evening Standard the witchhunt against him was "political and homophobic".

He said of former partner Mr Renolleau: "His favourite saying was always 'revenge is a dish best served cold'.

"Some people might say that is what has happened."

Enormous talents

Metropolitan Police Authority chairman Lord Harris said the launching of the inquiry had nothing to do with Mr Paddick's sexual orientation and was based purely on the fact that serious allegations had been made against him.

"We have had a number of very serious allegations made against Brian Paddick over the weekend in newspapers," he said.

Sir John Stevens
Sir John Stevens is to review the allegations
"These are allegations that if made against any officer, regardless of the background, would need to be investigated.

"Certainly there is no question that Brian Paddick has enormous talents, and has brought enormous energy and capability to the role that he's fulfilled and those are talents and capabilities that the Metropolitan Police would, other things being equal, wish to retain."

Support in Lambeth

Officers in Lambeth came out in support of Mr Paddick and alleged that he may be the target of a whispering campaign because of his sexuality.

Detective Chief Inspector David Michael, of the Black Police Association, said: "There are chief officers who have said let's legalise hard drugs.

"We haven't seen this kind of orchestrated campaign against them.

"We need more Brian Paddicks in the Met and the British police, irrespective of their sexuality."

Stephen Warwick, spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Police Association, told BBC Radio 4's World At One programme there had been a "smear campaign" against Commander Paddick.

He added: "This is just so typical of what can still happen and it certainly will be seen by many gay and lesbian police officers today as no encouragement or inducement for them to come out and to be open about their own sexuality."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Margaret Gilmore
"Those who know him say there's been a witch hunt"
Stephen Warwick, Lesbian and Gay Police Association
"It is a smear campaign"
Metropolitan Police Assoc. Chairman Toby Harris
"Under his command, Brixton police has had significant success"
See also:

19 Feb 02 | England
Police chief's unorthodox approach
02 Jul 01 | UK Politics
Cannabis 'not being decriminalised'
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