In the wake of Paris Brown’s resignation from her role as the UK’s first youth police and crime commissioner, it’s not just the teenager’s actions we must question but also those of Ann Barnes.
Now call me old fashioned, but I would suggest some sort of background checks should have been requested, especially for a young woman being appointed for such an important and pivotal role? What’s that Ann? You don’t fancy all that legwork?
Oh, in that case we should just grab the first teenager we see because she must be representative of young people today. Sadly not.
Now I’m no saint. I swear, I’m sure I’ve posted some comments that I later don’t particularly like the sound of on social networks and I don’t doubt that I’ve said several controversial things that may have upset a few people, yet I believe everything I post is a true representation of myself.
Regardless of whether you are intoxicated or tired or angry, each post is a little piece of how you felt at the time. Which is why when Paris Brown tweeted that she’s a racist homophobe, you better believe she meant it. Brown isn’t an infant, she knows what these words mean and she knows their context, and this is what disappoints me most about her appointment.
An opportunity such as the one laid before Brown by the Kent Police should be going to the young, motivated, hard-working and intelligent young people of today, those that are not only social media savvy but show a certain degree of composure and maturity.
It pains me to see all the bright young people in schools up and down the country that would have loved a chance at having some real responsibility and to give a voice to young people within the police. Yet in this ‘hug a hoodie’ era, this is just another event to make people think - why bother?
Why bother studying hard and being respectful? Why bother staying off drugs and social networks? Because what it comes down to is this, Ann Barnes said to the nation’s young people when she gave the job to Brown – ‘go and act like an idiot and we’ll give a cushty £15,000 a year job and I’ll stand by you if you’ve acted inappropriately to save face.’
A terrible judgment of public mood among young people has occurred here. Enthusiastic and intelligent teenagers all across the country will be saying, ‘What a ridiculous appointment’ rather than ‘Wooaahh she’s 17, she must be just like us.’
So I ask – if acting like an idiot led to Paris Brown’s resignation and a swift teary-eyed exit from her post, doesn’t PCC Ann Barnes deserve the same fate?
> Charle Ray is a journalism student at University College Milton Keynes
He Tweets at @charlieray47