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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Brian Paddick


Brian Leonard Paddick (born 24 April 1958) is a British politician, and is the Liberal Democrat candidate for the London mayoral election, 2012. He was, until his retirement in May 2007, Deputy Assistant Commissioner in London's Metropolitan Police Service and the United Kingdom's most senior openly gay police officer.
Paddick joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 1976. Rising through the ranks, he was appointed the officer in charge of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Notting Hill in 1995, then returned to New Scotland Yard, first as Superintendent of the Personnel Department in 1996 and then as Chief Superintendent in 1997. In December 2000 he was appointed Police Commander for the London Borough of Lambeth where he worked until 2002.
In the latter capacity, Paddick attracted controversy by instructing his police officers not to arrest or charge people found with cannabis so that they could focus on crimes that were affecting the quality of life in the borough to a greater extent. The situation worsened when The Mail on Sunday published a false story by Paddick's former partner that alleged, among other things, he had used cannabis and was an anarchist. In late 2002 the Crown Prosecution Service decided that no charges would be brought against him, and in December 2003 Paddick and the Mail on Sunday settled legal proceedings brought by him, with the newspaper accepting that the story was false, apologising, and paying damages.
In April 2005 Paddick took over management of Territorial Policing across all 32 London Boroughs. During the investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into the wrongful shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube station on 22 July 2005, Paddick stated that a member of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Ian Blair's private office team had believed the wrong man had been targeted just six hours after the shooting. This allegation was contradicted by New Scotland Yard. On 28 March 2006, Paddick accepted a statement from the Metropolitan Police that it "did not intend to imply" a senior officer had misled the probe into the shooting and that "any misunderstanding is regretted".


Since childhood, Paddick had known he was gay, but between 1983 and 1988 he was married to Mary Stone in what he called "a genuine attempt to live as a straight man" – "It's what my faith as a Christian expected of me. It's what my parents expected of me. It's what the police service expected of me. Mary was a very beautiful and charming woman. It was a genuine attempt to try and deny my sexuality and to 'do the right thing'." According to Paddick, it was "a fairly conventional marriage" and his former wife said it was "a wonderful marriage". She did not know he was gay. He struggled with his sexuality until towards the end of his marriage in 1988: "I learned the lesson about being yourself before that, and being open about my sexuality was the last piece in the jigsaw. I wasn't open about my sexuality until I was a commander." A November 2003 profile in The Guardian noted: "Mr Paddick is relaxed enough to laugh at himself and told a gay magazine: 'My last staff officer got promoted and went to royalty protection. In his leaving card I wrote, "Same job, different Queen".'" Paddick presently lives in Vauxhall, London, with Petter Belsvik, a civil engineer from Oslo, Norway; they met in a bar while on holiday in Ibiza. They married in Oslo, same-sex marriage in Norway being legalised 8 days before, on 9 January 2009.
Paddick was a contestant on the eighth series of the ITV1 reality television show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, which began its broadcast on 16 November 2008. On 1 December 2008, he became the sixth celebrity to be voted off the show. Interviewed by the show's hosts Ant & Dec after leaving the jungle, he explained his reasons for participating: "For a long time I've been doing serious stuff. Thirty years in the police and running for mayor. It's all bad news that they want me to comment on. So I thought why not come and do something trivial. ... It's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, anything after this is a breeze.
In 2008, Paddick was ranked number 101 in the annual Pink List of influential gay and lesbian people in Britain published by The Independent on Sunday, down from number 83 in 2007.


In 2010, he appeared on Channel 4's alternative election night special of Come Dine With Me alongside Edwina Currie, Rod Liddle and Derek Hatton.
Speaking about his gay marriage in Norway as part of the 2010 Liberal Democrat debate about equal marriage for gay people, Paddick said "The real impact of [gay marriage rather than a civil partnership], the symbolism of it, the importance of it, didn't really strike me until we stood in front of the judge in the courthouse in Oslo, and she said ... we're here today to witness the marriage of Brian and Petter. And that was an intensely moving experience. We really feel, my husband and I, that we are really equal because we are married.".

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