Paddick joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 1976. Rising through the ranks, he was appointed the officer in charge of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Notting Hill in 1995, then returned to New Scotland Yard, first as Superintendent of the Personnel Department in 1996 and then as Chief Superintendent in 1997. In December 2000 he was appointed Police Commander for the London Borough of Lambeth where he worked until 2002.
In the latter capacity, Paddick attracted controversy by instructing his police officers not to arrest or charge people found with cannabis so that they could focus on crimes that were affecting the quality of life in the borough to a greater extent. In late 2002 the Crown Prosecution Service decided that no charges would be brought against him, and in December 2003 Paddick and the Mail on Sunday settled legal proceedings brought by him, with the newspaper accepting that a story it had published was false (which had alleged he had used cannabis), apologising, and paying damages.
In April 2005 Paddick took over management of Territorial Policing across all 32 London Boroughs. During the investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into the wrongful shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube station on 22 July 2005, Paddick stated that a member of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Ian Blair's private office team had believed the wrong man had been targeted just six hours after the shooting. This allegation was contradicted by New Scotland Yard. On 28 March 2006, Paddick accepted a statement from the Metropolitan Police that it "did not intend to imply" a senior officer had misled the probe into the shooting and that "any misunderstanding is regretted".
However, following the disagreement, Paddick was assigned the position of group director of information management at New Scotland Yard, which he considered a "non-job". He came to accept that his police career was over, and retired from the police force on 31 May 2007. On 13 November 2007 it was announced that Paddick had been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London in the mayoral elections to be held on 1 May 2008. He came third behind Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone, with 9.8% of first preference votes.
Between 16 November and 1 December 2008, Paddick was a contestant on the ITV1 reality television show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!. He was the sixth person to be voted off the show.
Since childhood, Paddick has known he was gay, but between 1983 and 1988 he was married to Mary Stone in what he called "a genuine attempt to live as a straight man" – "It's what my faith as a Christian expected of me. It's what my parents expected of me. It's what the police service expected of me. Mary was a very beautiful and charming woman. It was a genuine attempt to try and deny my sexuality and to 'do the right thing'." According to Paddick, it was "a fairly conventional marriage" and his former wife said it was "a wonderful marriage". She did not know he was gay. He struggled with his sexuality until towards the end of his marriage in 1988: "I learned the lesson about being yourself before that, and being open about my sexuality was the last piece in the jigsaw. I wasn't open about my sexuality until I was a commander." A November 2003 profile in The Guardian noted: "Mr Paddick is relaxed enough to laugh at himself and told a gay magazine: 'My last staff officer got promoted and went to royalty protection. In his leaving card I wrote, "Same job, different Queen".'"
Paddick was a contestant on the eighth series of the ITV1 reality television show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, which began its broadcast on 16 November 2008. On 1 December 2008, he became the sixth celebrity to be voted off the show. Interviewed by the show's hosts Ant & Dec after leaving the jungle, he explained his reasons for participating: "For a long time I've been doing serious stuff. Thirty years in the police and running for mayor. It's all bad news that they want me to comment on. So I thought why not come and do something trivial. ... It's the hardest thing I've ever done in my life, anything after this is a breeze."
In 2008, Paddick was ranked number 101 in the annual Pink List of influential gay and lesbian people in Britain published by The Independent on Sunday, down from number 83 in 2007.
In 2010, he appeared on Channel 4's alternative election night special of Come Dine With Me alongside Edwina Currie, Rod Liddle and Derek Hatton.
Line of Fire by Brian Paddick
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (November 2, 2008)
Amazon: Line of Fire
Known by some as 'Descartes of Dock Green' and as 'Commander Crackpot' by others, it's fair to say that Brian Paddick has frequently divided opinion. Before his retirement from the rank of Deputy Assistant Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police in May 2007, he was the UK's most senior openly gay officer, and his prominent interventions in issues such as drug policy and the mistaken shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in the days after 7/7 have also made him the most controversial. Now freed of the constraints imposed by his professional responsibilities Brian Paddick reveals the full extraordinary story of his life and career. From early days on the beat, including searing experiences such as the Brixton riots, he went on to gain successive promotions despite what many in such a traditional organisation would have perceived as the 'handicap' of his sexuality. And yet he himself would argue it was another characteristic that led him to clash with superiors and ultimately made him conclude his career was over: his honesty. Full of colour, candour and cracking stories, this hugely compelling book provides the missing link between police memoir, true crime and celebrity autobiography.
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