Kent

Kent PCC Ann Barnes apologises over documentary

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Media captionAnn Barnes told Kent and Medway Police and Crime panel she would remain in her job

Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner has apologised for the "negative reporting" which followed a "fly-on-the-wall" TV programme about her role.

Ann Barnes told the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel she had "work to do to repair the damage" but would remain in her job.

Chairman Mike Hill said the Channel 4 documentary had damaged her reputation and that of the role of the PCC.

He said there had also been "some damage by association" to Kent Police.

At the meeting on Thursday, Mrs Barnes was also asked about the personal life of her youth commissioner following revelations in The Sun.

Mrs Barnes said it was not possible to discuss the claims about Kerry Boyd.

The 20-year-old, who was appointed three months ago, has been temporarily suspended following allegations she had a close friendship with married former Kent councillor Robert Burgess.

Ms Boyd was appointed after her predecessor Paris Brown, then 17, resigned over offensive comments she made on Twitter.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Kerry Boyd was appointed by Kent PCC Ann Barnes earlier this year

Last week Mrs Barnes was described as making Kent Police a "laughing stock" after the Channel 4 programme Meet the Police Commissioner, which Ian Pointon, chairman of Kent Police Federation, described as "a disaster from start to finish".

Channel 4 has said Mrs Barnes viewed the whole programme prior to transmission and had been satisfied that it was fair and accurate.

On Thursday, Mrs Barnes told the panel she had taken part in the programme with "the best of intentions" but it had not been the documentary she had hoped for, and had focused too much on her rather than the role of the job.

She said the first time she saw the film was "the day before production ended", and although she had raised concerns and asked for some clips to be removed, it had not been possible as it was too late in the process.

"It was never, ever my intention to cause upset," she said.

"It wasn't the programme I wanted it to be... an educational piece on the role of the PCC.

"It was the wrong decision and I'm truly sorry."

Mrs Barnes said she had taken advice before taking part, but the final decision had been her own.

'Good job'

"I did have people saying I shouldn't do it... [and] I did look very carefully at Channel 4, which is a reputable broadcaster," she explained.

She said she had held several discussions with the producers, and the team "spent four months with us and did hundreds of hours of filming".

"I did it with the best of intentions to raise awareness of the role and to show the difference and complexities of that role.

"With the benefit of hindsight I would not do it again."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Channel 4 spent four months filming Ann Barnes for its Meet the Police Commissioner documentary

Mrs Barnes told the panel that everyone knew how hard she worked and she still felt she was "doing a good job for the people of Kent".

She added her relationship with the Chief Constable was very good and that she was sorry for any damage to the reputation of the police force as a result of the documentary.

Concluding the meeting, the panel's chairman Mike Hill said it had clearly been a mistake for Mrs Barnes to "engage in the programme and to concede editorial control".

He told her that it was "not a case of business as usual", and that she should change her style of engagement with the public and the force.

Councillor Hill said she would have to report back to the panel at the next meeting, scheduled for mid-July.

Ian Pointon, chairman of Kent Police Federation, welcomed Mrs Barnes' apology on behalf of rank and file officers.

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