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Wednesday, 27 March, 2002, 09:11 GMT
Paddick: I am right for Lambeth
Commander Brian Paddick
Mr Paddick says he "desperately" wants to do his job
Metropolitan Police commander Brian Paddick says people in Lambeth believe he is the "right man" to lead the fight against crime.

But the policeman said that being reinstated as the borough's commander depended on whether he has "become bigger than the issues in Lambeth."

Mr Paddick was speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme - his first broadcast interview since he was suspended from his role in Lambeth following claims about his private life.

Mr Paddick made a surprise appearance on Tuesday evening at a public meeting in Brixton, south London, which was held to show support for the officer.

Are certain sections of the press going to leave me alone to get on with my job?

Brian Paddick

He told the Today programme: "Clearly the people in Lambeth believe I am the right man to lead the police in Lambeth.

"There seems to be support across the length and breadth of the country."

Mr Paddick was temporarily transferred from his role as Lambeth commander while an investigation takes place into allegations made in a national newspaper.

Job passion

Mr Paddick said: "There are many considerations here.

"It isn't just simply a question of whether I am exonerated.

"It is a question of whether I have become bigger than the issues in Lambeth.

I think the majority of people will say what has my sexuality got to do with my ability

Brian Paddick

"Are certain sections of the press going to leave me alone to get on with my job?

"I absolutely desperately want to do that job. It is the job I have always wanted to do and the people of Lambeth want me to do it as well."

Mr Paddick has pioneered a scheme in Lambeth to shift police resources away from tackling the minor crime of cannabis possession.

'Openly gay'

People who are caught with the drug, have it confiscated and are let off without a caution.

"It was my idea in the first place, I took that idea to the (Metropolitan Police) commissioner in the first place.

"We still enforce the law on cannabis.

"For people to say people are flocking into Lambeth to buy drugs... people were buying drugs in Lambeth before this took place."

Many of Mr Paddick's supporters have said the openly gay officer has been the victim of a homophobic campaign to oust him.

Mr Paddick said: "I am an ordinary gay man and I do things that ordinary gay men do.

"If you are saying it is not appropriate for an openly gay man to be a senior police officer, that might be a view that some people take.

"I think the majority of people will say what has my sexuality got to do with my ability to lead the police force in Lambeth."

Commander Brian Paddick addresses Lambeth rally
"All I want to do is to come back and serve the people of Lambeth"
The BBC's Penny Wrout
"Those speaking in support included a rabbi and a minister"
Commander Paddick interviewed on Today programme
"What has my sexuality got to do with my ability"
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