Paris Brown dilemma: There is no excuse for not doing your job

I can’t get my head around Kent Police’s new youth commissioner, Paris Brown, and her unacceptable outbursts on Twitter. There’s no excuse for making offensive statements in public office – and I mean none, including being 17.

According to Paris, young people use words differently. I’m afraid, however, that if you are working for the local police and get caught calling people the kind of names she did on Twitter, then the only option is the tin tack for you. 

What I really can’t believe though is that there’s not someone, apart from just Paris, falling on their sword at Kent Police. They have just hired someone for a high profile role working in the community as some kind of liaison officer between young people and the local force, paying them £15,000, and nobody did a background check? Come on Kent Police, you guys are supposed to be the ones who investigate things.

Ironically, since this all came to light Kent Police has revealed it is to investigate these two-and-three-year-old tweets after public complaints. A case of horse, stable door, bolted?

In the old days, when I did all the hiring and firing, I used to reckon I could pick a “wrong’un” within the first 20 seconds of meeting them. These days, my recruitment staff handle the hiring and firing. I know as a fact that they, and all other professional HR people, make use of the information available on social networking sites when assessing an application – and why wouldn’t you?

We run police checks on all our staff to make sure they don’t have criminal records. It’s plain old fashioned common sense, I would have thought. The irony is that if Kent Police didn’t do any background checks into Paris Brown, it begs the question whether or not they bothered to check (with themselves) as to whether she had a criminal record before putting her on the payroll?

This is merely another example of there being one set of rules for the often amateurish civil service, and another completely different rule book for private companies. There is no excuse for not doing your job properly.

I would never hire someone as a plumber who wasn’t qualified to do the job. In the past, people tried telling us they were tradesmen when they weren’t, but we always caught the lie because that’s what we’re supposed to do as competent professional people.

The same logic should have been applied in this case. As she was appointed as a public figure, shouldn’t they have looked into her background to make sure she had an appropriate image? In my book, local crime commissioner, Councillor Ann Barnes, needs to resign, along with whoever is in charge of hiring at Kent Police.

Charlie Mullins is founder and CEO of Pimlico Plumbers.

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