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Bumbling Kent police and crime commissioner Ann Barnes struggles to explain her job in 'car crash' Channel 4 documentary Meet the Commissioner

By Paul Francis

Kent police and crime commissioner Ann Barnes is seen struggling to describe exactly what her job is in a behind-the-scenes documentary.

Clips from the Channel 4 programme released ahead of its broadcast show Mrs Barnes having difficulty explaining her role and talking about something called "the onion" - an approach to policing priorities.

The clips have already sparked comments on social media websites with many saying they are a PR car crash.

Kent police and crime commissioner Ann Barnes when she appeared in a TV documentary. Picture: Channel 4/Richard Ansett

In a clip filmed in her office at Maidstone, Mrs Barnes is asked: "What is a police commissioner?"

After a pause, she says: "Oh dear... what is a police commissioner? It is not a police commissioner, it is a police and crime commissioner."

She turns to a whiteboard to write down the job title, but is seen getting it wrong before saying "let's try that again".

She then goes on to say: "It's a strange job... there is no job description at all... there are certain responsibilities you have to do but no actual job description."

In another clip, she is seen talking about something called "the onion" depicted in circles on a whiteboard - but again struggles to explain what it is.

Asked what it represents, she says the rings represent different policing priorities, but cannot explain what they are.

She said: "I have no idea... I did not expect to talk about the onion, as we call it. I do not know really... everything is important."

In a third clip, she discusses criticism of her converted motorhome used to travel to events across Kent.

Of the £15,000 costs, she says: "I could have had a top of the range Mercedes but it is not my image."

In the next shot, Mrs Barnes is seen arriving for work in a soft-top Mercedes car.

Ann Barnes outside the converted motorhome she uses to travel to events across Kent. Picture: Channel 4/Richard Ansett

Mrs Barnes was not available for comment, but her spokesman said it was a "warts and all documentary" which the commissioner had agreed to take part in.

However, she has responded to followers on Twitter, saying the footage was 'just an excerpt from an hour-long documentary' and urging people to save their judgement until they had seen the whole programme.

The commissioner had no editorial control, but was shown a preview to check for factual inaccuracies.

On its website, Channel 4 said the Cutting Edge programme was an attempt to gauge the success of commissioners.

It said: "Do the public see her as an independent breath of fresh air, who will roll her sleeves up to get things done, or a gaffe-prone amateur who stands no chance in the face of a massive cuts to police funding?"

Kent police commissioner Ann Barnes

Ann Barnes today hit back at the programme, saying: "When I was approached with the idea to do this documentary I gave it very careful thought.

"I finally agreed because I have vowed to be open and transparent about my job as Kent Police and Crime Commissioner.

"It’s a shame that after four months of filming, so much has ended up on the cutting room floor and the result is a mere snapshot of my working life, addressing none of the many complexities of the post of Commissioner.

"There has been an element of mischievous editing here and I would ask people to make up their own minds after watching the whole programme and not after seeing a 32 second Channel 4 publicity clip."

The Channel 4 programme "Meet the Commissioner" will be broadcast on Thursday, May 29.

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