Current Affairs

Paddick questions whether homophobia hurt his career

PinkNews Staff Writer March 20, 2008
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The Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London has said if he were straight his career in the Metropolitan police “would have progressed differently.”

Brian Paddick left the force in May 2007, after 30 years service, at the rank of Deputy Assistant Commissioner.

He was the most senior out gay police officer in the country.

His autobiography, Line of Fire, was launched in London last night and goes on sale next week.

The book has been serialised in the Mail on Sunday, the paper Mr Paddick sued over false allegations he had smoked cannabis with a former boyfriend.

Line of Fire deals with his five-year marriage, his coming out, the saga of his ex-boyfriend selling his story to a tabloid and the domestic abuse Mr Paddick suffered at the hands of the same man.

The book also tells his version of when senior officers knew the full facts about the death of an innocent Brazilian at the hands of armed police at Stockwell tube station in 2005.

At last night’s event, Mr Paddick said that the timing of the book’s release, in the middle of an election campaign, was determined by the Mail on Sunday and not the Lib Dems.

He is facing incumbent Ken Livingstone, Tory Boris Johnson and Green candidate Sian Berry in the race for Mayor of London. The election is on May 1st.

Explaining why he chose that paper to serialise his book, Mr Paddick said:

“It was the Mail on Sunday and its readers who were fed this distorted story about who I was, so that was the target that I was looking to educate as to the truth about me.”

Mr Paddick has been a controversial figure since his decision in 2002, as borough commander of Lambeth, to focus resources on tackling the sale of Class A drugs instead of arresting people for possession of cannabis.

Mr Paddick was moved from his post in Lambeth and his career effectively put on hold while the allegations he had smoked cannabis were investigated.

He told

“I think if I was straight then my career would have progressed differently.

“There are significant moments during my police career that I talk about in the book that could have been coincidences or could have been because people were suspicious that I was gay.

“At the time I left my wife and applied to live with my male lover, which you had to have permission to do at that time, my boss summoned me and asked if it was a good idea as people would talk.

“That was around the time that there was a disciplinary investigation for my team; I stood up for my team and told the truth about what happened.

“You could say either my career was then held up for 18 months because I was gay or because I stood up and told the truth.

“Or could the reason I was moved out of Lambeth have been because of homophobia or could it have been because of allegations made against me?

“It was clear from day one it was impossible to prove the allegations and in the end was it because I stood up and told the truth about Stockwell or was it them using these things as cover for their homophobia?

“And as with racially motivated or homophobic motivated offences it’s very difficult to get a confession out of the perpetrator, as you don’t know what they’re motivated by.

“I think it was because I was too honest about what was going on with the police and about who I was. If it had been a straight man, the story would not have been as big.”

Mr Paddick added that being married for five years did not make him any less of a gay man.

“Some people talk about sexuality as being a spectrum, some people are 100% straight or 100% gay and I guess I couldn’t have been married or had other relationships if I was 100% on either end of the spectrum,” he said.

“Having said that, I’m absolutely 100% gay and I wouldn’t want to have another relationship with a woman.

“I think there are men who would identify with the story and although there are lots of gay men who use public sex areas, you’ve got others who are men who have sex with men rather than people identified as gay.”

Gay equality organisation Stonewall is hosting a hustings event with the candidates for Mayor of London on Saturday 19th April, the last such event before Londoners go to the polls on May 1st.

Mr Livingstone, Mr Paddick, Mr Johnson and Ms Berry will be taking part.

The Stonewall hustings will be held on Saturday 19th April between 11am and 12.30pm at the BFI Southbank, London. is proud to be a media sponsor for this event, which is open to everyone.

In order to ensure a seat you must register here.

For a full list of candidates for Mayor of London click here. Nominations close on 28th March.

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