MPs have weighed in to call for Britain’s first youth crime commissioner to resign after abusive tweets sent from her personal Twitter account were revealed at the weekend.
Paris Brown, 17, was announced last week as Britain’s first youth crime commissioner, and is set to work alongside Kent’s Police Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes, and is intended to represent a youth perspective on policing and crime.
Laura Sandys, Conservative MP for South Thanet, tweeted to say that Brown should resign. She said: “Paris Brown should step down as youth crime Tsar for Kent… Gimmicks always backfire.”
Conservative MP for Folkestone and Hythe, Damian Collins, also said she should step down. He said in an interview with the Press Association: “I do not think the role should have been created in the first place. I feel sorry for Paris Brown to be put in this position where there is such a high level of scrutiny about what she has said.”
Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes, who will partly fund the teen’s £15,000 salary with some of her own, said she would stand by Brown, who was chosen from 164 candidates for the position.
She denied that the scheme was a gimmick, and said: “I am going to stand by her and I am going to try and help work through this.”
Speaking to the BBC, Barnes said: “We went through a perfectly normal recruitment process and we had her vetted by the force,” she said. “Nobody normally looks through anybody’s Twitter feed – perhaps that’s a lesson for the future. We are living in a different world now.”
Brown issued an apology on Sunday, which 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.”
She has also faced a mix of messages on Twitter to her official account, some calling for her to resign, others defending her.
Brown tweeted one supporter echoing her apology. She said: “The last few days have been hell. Totally my fault and I am the only one to blame. I repeat I am sorry”.