Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Youth police commissioner Paris Brown apologises amid calls to resign over 'offensive' Twitter posts

A 17-year-old girl who was appointed Britain’s first youth police and crime commissioner has today apologised for "inappropriate language and views" she posted on her Twitter account.

Paris Brown, who was appointed to the new role just last week, has responsibility for representing young people’s views on policing while working alongside Ann Barnes, Kent’s independent police and crime commissioner.

She faced calls to resign today after The Mail on Sunday reported that Miss Brown used her Twitter account - @vilulabelle - to post racist and anti-gay comments. 

According to reports she also posted comments about drug taking, her sex life and drinking. The Twitter page has since been taken down.

The newspaper quotes one tweet where the 17-year-old complains: ‘Worst part about being single is coming from a party/night out horny as f*** and having to sleep alone.’

Another, which was posted before she was appointed, says: ‘I really wanna make a batch of hash brownies.’

Elsewhere on her Twitter account she apparently referred to immigrants as 'illegals', gays as 'fags' and travellers as 'pikeys'.

The Mail on Sunday reported that Keith Vaz, chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select committee, has called for Miss Brown to be removed from the post immediately.

Nicholas Rogers, a Conservative councillor in Kent, tweeted in response to the row: "Naive to throw a teen into robust political environment. Youth PCC nice bit of PR but ended in tears."

In a statement, Miss Brown said: "I deeply apologise for any offence caused by my use of inappropriate language and for any inference of inappropriate views.

"I am not homophobic, racist or violent and am against the taking of drugs.

"If I'm guilty of anything it's showing off and wildly exaggerating on Twitter, and I am very ashamed of myself, but I can't imagine that I'm the only teenager to have done this.

"Just as one example, the line about 'Hash Brownies' is a reference to a Scooby Doo film.

"I have a genuine interest in working with young people, as demonstrated by my current work as an apprentice for a local authority helping teenagers in a local community."

Ann Barnes, Kent’s independent police and crime commissioner, defended Brown saying that she did not condone the nature of the tweets but asked for some perspective due to Miss Brown's age.

"I absolutely do not condone the content and language of Paris's tweets," she said.

"I suspect that many young people go through a phase during which they make silly, often offensive comments and show off on Facebook and Twitter.

"I think that if everyone's future was determined by what they wrote on social networking sites between the ages of 14 and 16 we'd live in a very odd world.

"Thousands of people have already seen and heard this young lady articulate her ideas and been impressed by her maturity and her commitment during challenging interviews on the national and local media before this story broke.

"She has said herself that young people grow up very quickly these days and it's often difficult for them. This is a very difficult time for her personally, but she will learn quickly from this and rapidly mature into the confident young person we are already seeing."

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