As PinkNews.co.uk has speculated since May 2006, Brian Paddick, who was until his retirement, Britain’s most senior openly gay police officer, will this week finally announce that he wishes to be the Liberal Democrats candidate for the Mayor of London.
Mr Paddick has unusually given an interview to the Mail on Sunday, who in 2002 accused him of using canabis, shortly after he had relaxed the policing of the drug in the London Borough of Lambeth, where he was Borough Police Commander.
“Ken [Livingstone] will choke on his breakfast when he sees my ideas. Nobody else putting themselves forward as Mayor knows more about the issue of law and order than I do,” Mr Paddick told the Mail on Sunday.
“Certainly, safer communities are number one on everybody’s agenda.
“I have been consistent in my attitude to illegal drugs – they are dangerous and harmful and it is better if people live without them.
“But I have a realistic approach to enforcement and the prevailing circumstances in Lambeth made that policy the right one at the time.
“I shall never be afraid of adopting a radical solution if it’s fully thought through, if it’s workable, affordable and gets the right result.”
On transport, Mr Paddick promises to regulate the timings of London’s buses: “I know, for example, that the bus network doesn’t work. I want to make that old joke about waiting for one London bus and four coming at once redundant. The technology exists to do so and it’s time we bought into it.
“Equally, the Congestion Charge could be much more sophisticated, targeting the wealthy chief executive in his chauffeur-driven car instead of the delivery driver keeping the capital supplied. One is there by choice, the other by necessity, there should be a way of differentiating between them.”
On the Olympics he promises that he “wouldn’t write the organisers a blank cheque – we need to have value for money for every single pound spent – but we must put on the best possible show.”
In terms of his private life, if elected he will be the most senior gay politician in Britain he said:”Politicians are entitled to their privacy provided there is no breach of trust with the electorate. I doubt my domestic life could be scrutinised any more than it was when I was a serving police officer.”
PinkNews.co.uk first reported that the ex-Metropolitan Police deputy assistant commissioner mentioned the possibility of standing for the post in May 2006 at the launch of The Way We Are Now, a collection of essays by the gay community.
In August 2006, while still serving as a Metropolitan Police officer, PinkNews.co.uk reported that he told a private audience of gay youth: “Mayoral candidates have been given greater leeway to be independent by their parties.
“Remember Ken Livingstone was first elected as an Independent before Labour begged him to rejoin the party.”
Mr Paddick, pioneered a scheme to relax the penalties for smoking cannabis in Lambeth where he was borough commander retired earlier this year.
Mr Paddick was mentioned into this week’s report into the Stockwell shooting of the Brazilian Charles de Menezes.
Mr Paddick told the inquiry that he labelled the dead man as a “Brazilian tourist” while his boss, Sir Ian Blair, the Met Commissioner, publicly said that the shooting was “directly linked to the ongoing anti-terrorist operation”.
Mr Paddick later told PinkNews.co.uk that he was sidelined by Sir Ian sidelined by the current Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, “because I spoke the truth.”
If selected, Mr Paddick will face the openly pro-gay Labour incumbent, Ken Livingstone and quite possibly the Conservative MP Boris Johnson. If Mr Johnson does not win his party’s primary election then Mr Paddick could face Mr Johnson’s challenger, the gay Conservative Andrew Boff.