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Kent police commissioner Ann Barnes axes youth tsar post after controversies over Kerry Boyd and Paris Brown

Kent police commissioner Ann Barnes is to scrap her controversial youth tsar post, blaming media attention for putting too much pressure on her appointments.

The youth commissioner post had been a key element of Mrs Barnes' programme but unravelled spectacularly when her first appointment Paris Brown was forced to stand down after posting offensive social media comments.

And her replacement Kerry Boyd attracted headlines after it was revealed she had a close friendship with a married former councillor.

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes
Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes

Now a report, due to be considered by the Kent and Medway Crime Panel tomorrow recommends that a youth advisory group be set up to address issues facing young people instead.

The report says that while the youth commissioner post was considered a success, there had to be "recognition at how mischievous and vicious the press could be and that this was a significant burden for one person."

It adds that there was a concern that "too often the press and others are quick to judge and can place an individual under intense scrutiny."

Youth commissioner Kerry Boyd
Youth commissioner Kerry Boyd

And it questioned whether one person could be effective at representing the views of young people across the county.

Instead, Mrs Barnes says she wants to establish a forum "to fund projects and support engagement with vulnerable or ‘hard to reach’ young people."

About £15,000 will be spent to "fund projects and support engagement activity."

The crime panel - an independent watchdog - has previously been critical of the youh tsar role.

Former youth commissioner Paris Brown quit after just six days
Former youth commissioner Paris Brown quit after just six days

Its chairman Cllr Mike Hill said it was a gimmick and could backfire on the commissioner.

Meanwhile, in a separate development, the commissioner has had to appoint a new chief of staff after the resignation of Mike Stepney who is understood to have a new job.

Adrian Harper has been named as the successor to him in the £90,000 role. He has 32 years experience in the police service and has worked as the crime and incident registrar for Kent Police for the last two years.

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