This afternoon I managed to catch up with the Channel 4 documentary Meet The Commissioner, which was a fly on the wall documentary focusing on the Independent Kent Police & Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes.
It was truly the most cringe worthy documentary I have ever seen. At times poor Ann reminded me of the Ricky Gervais character David Brent from the Office as Ann Barnes travelled in a van she dubbed 'Ann Force 1', had difficulty explaining an approach to policing priorities called 'the onion' and brought her dogs into the office.
She also failed to write her title correctly on a whiteboard, was filmed painting her 'flaky' nails, compared the force to a tin of paint that she wanted to 'prise' open and rolled up in a Mercedes after saying 'I could have chosen a top of the range Mercedes, but that's not my style.
It was a disaster from start to finish. I think, sadly, it has turned Kent Police by association into something of a laughing stock. Ann Barnes became the most high-profile of the country’s 41 crime tsars a year ago when The Mail on Sunday revealed her £15,000 youth commissioner, Paris Brown, 17, had posted a series of highly offensive comments online.
Paris Brown wrote the messages during the last six months before she was given the role of helping the force ‘stay in touch with young people’. She called homosexuals ‘fags’, immigrants ‘illegals’ and travellers ‘pikeys’, and said she had ‘a thing for older men’, an apparent reference to a teacher at her former school. Mrs Barnes tried to save the teenager's job, but Brown was forced to quit.
This programme was a timely reminder of what residents face when they elect Independents which are elevated into positions of power. Whilst the party political system may not be perfect, candidates are vetted to ensure competence and suitability for the roles.