CAGS — Croydon Area Gay Society

For other local LGBT groups, see LGBT Croydon.

Press Release: Brian Paddick speaks in Croydon

8 October 2008

Brian Paddick speaking at The Brief
Brian Paddick, former top police officer and candidate for Mayor of London, gave some interesting insights to a packed meeting in Croydon last night. The meeting was the first in a series called “The Brief Encounter” promoted by Croydon Area Gay Society (CAGS) at The Brief in George Street. Brian Paddick’s talk was filmed by TV Polari (a new gay Internet television company) who also recorded an interview with him afterwards.

Mr Paddick described how he first “came out” as gay – while being interviewed for promotion to Commander in the Metropolitan Police. He had already asked a colleague “Does anybody know I’m gay?” and the answer came back “Brian, everybody knows.”

He went on to describe how the Mail on Sunday ran a story about him based on false information obtained from an embittered ex-lover. He took legal action against the paper, and this became the start of UK case law on privacy.

He stayed on in the Met despite all the controversy because he wanted to make a difference, but his police career came to an end following the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes in July 2005. On the afternoon of the shooting senior aides to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner told him that the police had shot a Brazilian tourist, and he was surprised when the Commissioner (Sir Ian Blair) claimed that neither he nor his staff had heard about it until the next day. When this discrepancy was later leaked to the press Mr Paddick was moved to a non-operational job, running a computer project, and decided to resign.

His resignation from the police came at a good time: he had met and fallen in love with a Norwegian man, Petter Belsvik, and the relationship would probably not have lasted if he had been still working full-time in London. The couple will be getting married in Oslo on the 9th of January, under the Norwegian same-sex marriage law.

Brian Paddick next described how he had been approached by both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to stand for Mayor of London. “I chose the Liberal Democrats because they were more principled than the other parties.”

A member of the audience asked him about the recent controversy around ethnic minority police officers. He replied that minority officers (black as well as gay) often feel left out of the informal networks where things are decided, and so may get known as rebels.

Asked about last week’s resignation by Sir Ian Blair, Brian Paddick said that if he had been Mayor he would not have called for him to resign at this point, indeed only the full Metropolitan Police Authority, not just the Mayor, are entitled to do this, and then only as a recommendation to the Home Secretary. It would have been better for Sir Ian to stay in post while investigations continued, but perhaps this would have led to more embarrassment for both Sir Ian and the Government.

Concluding, Brian Paddick said that the country needs positive gay role models, and the struggle for gay equality has not yet been won. Police attitudes to gay people have improved beyond recognition since he first joined, but not every police district has caught up, even within the Met. “Some people say that gay people ‘have never had it so good’, but there are still people being murdered for being gay. We have to continue to fight and continue to battle.” Asked about his future plans, he paused and then said “a few things are coming up that will become very public: watch this space.”

David Page, Chair of CAGS, said “We were delighted to see so many people in the audience this evening. This was a really excellent talk, and the best possible start to our Brief Encounter series. We’ve even signed up two new members this evening.”

More details can be found on the CAGS website at For more about TV Polari, see


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