Belfast Telegraph

Friday 25 July 2014

First youth PCC resigns over tweets

Paris Brown wrote violent, racist and anti-gay comments on Twitter

A teenager appointed to become Britain's first youth crime commissioner has stepped down from the £15,000-a-year role, saying messages she wrote on Twitter had "offended many people".

Paris Brown, 17, was meant to provide young people's views on policing but is now having her tweets investigated by police amid claims they are homophobic, racist and violent.

At a press conference, the teenager said she would be unable to carry out the job properly due to continued media attention following the publication of the tweets, which many claimed showed her to be violent, homophobic and racist.

Reading from a statement, Miss Brown, from Sheerness, Kent, said: "I have made this decision after a great deal of thought and consultation with my family.

"As I made clear over the weekend, I accept that I have made comments on social networking sites which have offended many people. I am really sorry for any offence caused.

"I strongly reiterate that I am not racist or homophobic. I have fallen into the trap of behaving with bravado on social networking sites. I hope this may stand as a learning experience for many other young people.

"I now feel that in the interests of everyone concerned, in particular the young people of Kent who I feel will benefit enormously from the role of a youth commissioner, that I should stand down as I feel that the recent media furore will continue and hamper my ability to perform the job to the level required."

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes, who appointed Miss Brown to the position, said the police investigation into the social media posts was "the straw that broke the camel's back".

Kent Police is investigating the tweets, which were written by Miss Brown between the ages of 14 and 16, to see if any offence has been committed, after receiving a number of complaints.

Mrs Barnes praised the teenager as a "remarkable young woman", however, and said her decision not to take up the role, which was due to begin this summer, was "very sad". She admitted Miss Brown's Twitter feed had not been vetted as part of the recruitment process, adding that such checks would take place in future.