Out of the Firing Line; Gay Police Chief Faces the Sack: Axed Paddick Claims He Is Victim of Homophobia

Article excerpt

Byline: STEPHEN WRIGHT

BRITAIN'S most controversial policeman was dramatically moved from his job yesterday.

Commander Brian Paddick, 43, was transferred to a low-profile post as an inquiry was launched into allegations that he smoked cannabis and allowed a gay lover to use the drug in their flat.

The move came only hours after Cdr Paddick and his supporters claimed he was the victim of a homophobic witch-hunt.

The inquiry will focus on the claims by Cdr Paddick's former partner James Renolleau that he smoked at least 100 joints with the senior policeman.

Cdr Paddick has denied ever smoking the drug but has admitted that Mr Renolleau, a French former model, smoked it in his presence at their flat.

The Oxford- educated officer also faces an allegation of failing to tell his superiors that Renolleau was on police bail pending a fraud investigation.

The latest controversy comes a week after Cdr Paddick was summoned to meet Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens after writing on an Internet website that he found the concept of anarchism 'attractive. The [pound]93,000-a-year officer - the highest-ranking openly-gay policeman in the country - had already made headlines by pioneering a 'softly, softly' approach to cannabis possession in Lambeth, South London, where he was borough commander.

Yesterday he claimed he was being hounded out of Scotland Yard by 'homophobic colleagues'.

Cdr Paddick said: 'Some of the comments in the media attributed to anonymous police colleagues show that there is homophobia within the police service'.

Some senior officers fear Cdr Paddick could end up taking the force to a costly employment tribunal, which would focus on claims of homophobia rather than the issue of drug-taking. …