Police tsar under fire over ‘car crash’ show

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Kent’s police and crime commissioner has been rebuked by rank-and-file officers for making their force a “laughing stock” in a Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall documentary.

Ann Barnes, the PCC for Kent, was accused of damaging the reputation of Kent Police through the Meet the Police Commissioner programme.

And she was accused by the Kent Police Federation of ignoring advice not to go ahead with the show, labelled by some viewers as a “car crash”.

In it, Mrs Barnes, who travels around in a van she dubs “Ann Force 1”, struggled to explain what her £85,000-a-year role involved.

She was filmed having difficulty explaining an approach to policing priorities called “the onion” and bringing her dogs into the office.

She also failed to write her title correctly on a whiteboard, was filmed painting her “flaky” nails and compared the force to a tin of paint that she wanted to “prise” open.

Ian Pointon, chairman of Kent Police Federation, said: “I watched the show twice with a mixture of laughter, embarrassment, shock and disbelief.

“To be frank, it was a disaster and Mrs Barnes was ill-advised to do this fly-on-the-wall documentary. I know she was advised by Kent Police not to do it, so any responsibility must lie elsewhere. It was always going to end this way, with a mockumentary.”

But on Twitter, viewers compared her to Ricky Gervais’s character David Brent – and one said the show was “depressingly hilarious, hilariously depressing”.

Mrs Barnes, who was elected in 2012, said she was concerned by claims that her appearance had damaged the reputation of Kent Police. And she said she was disappointed that the programme focused too much on her, rather than the work of her office.

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