Kent: PCC To Be Investigated

9 October 2014, 12:33

The police watchdog is investigating whether a crime tsar was legally insured when she was involved in a road crash, it has announced.

Ann Barnes, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, was involved in the collision in Princes Road, Dartford, last month.

Now it has emerged that the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is examining whether Mrs Barnes committed a criminal offence.

It said in a statement: "The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating whether the police and crime commissioner for Kent was legally insured to drive when she was involved in a road traffic accident last month.

"Details of the accident in Princes Road, Dartford, on 16 September, were referred to the IPCC by the office of the police and crime commissioner for Kent on 26 September.

"Following an assessment it has been decided that an independent IPCC investigation is necessary to determine whether Ann Barnes may have committed a criminal offence.

"The investigation will be overseen by IPCC commissioner Cindy Butts.''

A spokeswoman for Mrs Barnes said neither she nor her office would be making any comment. She said: ``It's an IPCC investigation.''

Mrs Barnes, who travels around in a van she dubs "Ann Force 1'', has faced a string of controversies since being elected to her £85,000-a-year post in 2012.

She came under-fire after she appointed Paris Brown, then aged 17, as Britain's first youth crime commissioner.

Miss Brown later resigned from the £15,000-a-year job after making offensive comments on her Twitter feed.

Earlier this year, Mrs Barnes, a former teacher, apologised after taking part in a controversial Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall documentary.

Kent's rank-and-file officers rebuked her for making their force a "laughing stock'' in the programme, called Meet The Police Commissioner.

In it, she struggled to explain what her role involved, failed to write her title correctly on a whiteboard and was filmed painting her "flaky'' nails.

She also said in the hour-long programme that driving a Mercedes was not her "image'' - and she was then filmed in the next shot arriving at work in a Mercedes.

Pressure on Mrs Barnes later intensified when it emerged her second youth crime tsar, Kerry Boyd, faced allegations of a relationship with a married former councillor.

Former London 2012 torchbearer Miss Boyd, 20, replaced Miss Brown - but stepped away from making public engagements when reports of the relationship surfaced.