Kent

Backers defend Kent PCC Ann Barnes over David Cameron criticism

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

Supporters of Kent's Police and Crime Commissioner have defended her after David Cameron said she had "failed to impress" in the role.

The Prime Minister told BBC Radio Kent he "wasn't particularly happy" about what he had heard about Ann Barnes.

However, councillor Lynne Beaumont, who was part of Ms Barnes' campaign team said he had not heard about the "really good stuff" she had been doing.

Mrs Barnes was the subject of a "fly-on-the-wall" Channel 4 documentary.

The TV programme, Meet the Police Commissioner, saw Mrs Barnes talk about her £85,000-a-year role.

At points in the broadcast, she struggled to explain an approach to policing priorities called "the onion", brought her dogs into the office and failed to write her title correctly on a whiteboard.

Mr Cameron said: "I don't think she's making a very good fist of her job... the people of Kent elected her, they can un-elect her at the next available opportunity."

'Changed policing in Kent'

However, Mrs Beaumont, who represents the Folkestone Park ward on Shepway District Council, disagreed with his assessment, saying she doubted whether he had watched the documentary.

She said: "There are so many good things that Ann has done and she should be judged on what she has done.

"Opening a sexual assault referral centre, boosting visual policing on streets... everywhere she goes, this is what they [the public] want and that is what she is delivering."

Mrs Barnes was criticised last year after she appointed Paris Brown as Kent's first youth commissioner, with the teenager subsequently resigning over comments she had posted on Twitter.

And earlier this month it was claimed Ms Brown's replacement had been involved in a relationship with 50-year-old former county councillor and youth leader Robert Burgess.

Kerry Boyd, 20, has since not undertaken any public engagements.

The BBC has been unable to contact Mrs Barnes for her reaction to the prime minister's comments, as she is away on holiday.

A statement from her office said: "It is for Mrs Barnes to answer any comments made about how she has performed her role."

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