On Saturday, the Daily Mail turned this…
…under the headline: “Is this foul-mouthed, self-obsessed Twitter teen really the future of British policing? Youth crime tsar’s sex and drug rants”
The 17-year-old Paris beat 164 applicants to the position of Youth Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, this year but has already been subject to a media storm leading to calls for her resignation because between the ages of 14 and 16 she posted prolifically on Twitter. The subjects of her tweets were not nice.
Paris’s job was created by Ann Barnes, who won an election in November last year to become Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, one of 41 controversial positions. Essentially, PCCs hire and fire chief constables and try to make policing accountable to the public. Ms Barnes pledged during her campaign that she would create the role of Youth PCC to get a youthful angle on policing in the county. She pays Paris’s £15,000 salary partly out of her own (not exactly a “tsar“, Daily Mail) and has stood by her against sharp criticism.
So what did Paris actually say? Well, the Daily Mail said she “tweeted a torrent of foul-mouthed rants boasting about her sex life, drug taking and drinking binges” and “also posted violent, racist and anti-gay comments.” With that in mind, I thought I’d provide a little summary, with translations to those who aren’t down wiv da yoof, as it were.
Translation: I’m sexually inactive but I want people to know that I’m available and relaxed about it.
Tweet #2: Anti-gay comments
Translation: I don’t want people to think I like Made in Chelsea because its cool to think it’s uncool. But I watch it so we can gossip about its cast at school. Oh, and a fag is a cigarette, right?
Tweet #3: Condoning violence
Translation: My brother’s friend was getting bullied and I have no idea what was happening but I’m clearly on his side.
Tweet #4: Condoning drug taking (no image)
“I really wanna make a batch of hash brownies”
Translation: I quote Scooby Doo films
Admittedly there are many more offensive, ill thought out remarks. Paris, two years ago, was indeed foul mouthed. She is, in short, a typical teenager. Damn. C’mon Ann Barnes, what are you doing employing a typical teenager to advise you about how policing affects typical teenagers?! Seriously, you should have chosen a bright young prodigy, top of the class and president of the chess club. Why would you want someone who actually knows what a police officer looks like?
One might forgive a 16 year old girl for being naive and misguided. But, in the interests of balance, I may just point out that the Daily Mail has itself been accused of being homophobic and anti-immigrant, not to mention sex obsessed (March 9: “Can you still enjoy sex if you’re severely disabled? This bride-to-be, who has no feeling from the chest down, gives a resounding yes, yes, YES!”). Can you forgive that?
Bottom line: teenagers are vile. Often. Give them a chance to get stuff wrong.
UPDATE 10 April 2013:
Paris has resigned her position as Kent’s Youth Police and Crime Commissioner less than a week into the job. Kent Police are investigating whether her tweeting amounted to a criminal offence.