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Youth Police and Crime Commissioner – Lessons for all ages?

by on April 12, 2013

One of the most interesting stories about age and work this week has been that of Paris Brown and her short-lived appointment, at the age of 17, as Youth Police and Crime Commissioner.

As I’m sure is now well known, after her appointment was announced, The Mail on Sunday reported that Paris had boasted about her sex life, alleged drug-taking and drinking on her Twitter account, tweets that she wrote between the ages of 14 and 16.

Ann Barnes, the Kent Independent Police and Crime Commissioner who had appointed her, said that they had been through a ‘proper recruitment process’ and that Paris had been vetted by the police force.

There’s been a great deal of discussion about possible criminal offences committed (The Guardian), of the challenges of growing up in the era of social media where the public record of our youthful expressions is permanent (The Independent), how this now places Paris in the best position to tell other teens ‘how not to tweet’ (The Telegraph) and how this episode exposes a modern ‘generation gap’.

Most interesting are however:

  • the declaration by Ann Barnes that her idea of a ‘proper’ recruitment process and police vetting did not include any analysis of the candidate’s social media presence (some lessons to be learnt here, surely); and
  • the debate about whether someone aged 17 has anything to contribute in public life (in which respect see this piece in The Guardian’s Blogging Student about groups that give roles to young people in society).
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