Ann Barnes (police commissioner)

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Ann Barnes
1st Kent Police and Crime Commissioner
In office
22 November 2012 – 12 May 2016
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Matthew Scott
Constituency Kent
Majority 53,889
Chairman of Kent Police Authority
In office
Succeeded by Mike Hill
Personal details
Born 1945 (age 72–73)
St Helens, Merseyside, England
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Tony Barnes
Residence Lyminge, Kent
Profession Teacher

Ann Barnes (born 1945) was the first Kent Police and Crime Commissioner.[1][2] She was previously the Chairman of Kent Police Authority for six years and Deputy Chair of the National Association of Police Authorities for three years.[3][4][5]

Early life and family

Barnes was born in St. Helens in 1945 but now lives in Lyminge.[6][7] She is married to Tony Barnes and has two children.[8] She worked as a teacher for 27 years in Merseyside and Kent.[6][8] She became a magistrate on the East Kent Bench in 1986.[6][8]

Kent police authority

Barnes was appointed as an independent member of the Kent Police Authority (KPA) in 2001, becoming its chairman in 2005.[9] A police authority in the United Kingdom is a public authority that is responsible for overseeing the operations of a police force.

In the 2010 Spending Review the coalition government cut funding to Kent Police by £53 m (20%) which resulted in 1,500 police personnel, including 500 police officers, being made redundant across the county.[10][11]

In 2011 Mrs Barnes was "reminded of her responsibilities" by the KPA when she broke impartiality rules by campaigning against the government's introduction of elected police and crime commissioners across the country, describing the policy as "naive and disastrous"[12] and "a willful waste of money"[13] that would "inevitably lead towards a confrontational model of governance."[14]

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner


Despite her opposition to the creation of the post, Barnes announced in July 2012 that she was going to contest the police and crime commissioner election in November 2012 as an independent candidate.[15][16] She subsequently resigned from KPA with effect from 10 August 2012.[9]

Barnes spent nearly £68,000 on her campaign, of which £50,000 was from a legacy left by her parents.[17][18] During the campaign Barnes threatened legal action against English Democrats candidate Steve Uncles over a tweet Uncles posted about Barnes' funding.[19] Barnes' opponents alleged that the Liberal Democrats backed her campaign but she denied the allegations.[20][21][22] Her campaign manager was Peter Carroll, a former parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats in Maidstone and The Weald and, twice previously, in Folkestone and Hythe.[23][24]

The election took place on 15 November 2012.[25] On a turnout of just 16.3%, Barnes was in first place after the first round of counting, receiving 95,901 votes (46.80%) – over 40,000 more than the second placed candidate, Conservative Craig Mackinlay.[26][27] She was declared the winner after the second round of counting, receiving 114,137 votes (65.45%) – over 50,000 more than the second placed candidate, Mackinlay.[28][29]

Barnes was sworn into the £85,000-per-year police and crime commissioner role on 22 November 2012 at a ceremony held at Kent Police College in Maidstone.[30][31]

Youth PCC

In April 2013 Barnes appointed 17-year-old Paris Brown as the UK's first Youth Police and Crime Commissioner, with a job of representing the views of young people in relation to policing in Kent.[32] Brown soon faced calls to resign when news reports said she had used her Twitter account to allegedly post offensive comments. Brown issued an apology and resigned from the position as she felt that she could no longer serve the role justice due to the media attention, saying that she was "quitting in the interests of the young people of Kent".[33]

Following Brown's departure, Kerry Boyd, 20, was appointed Kent youth crime commissioner. Shortly after Barnes's unfortunate appearance on television, the Sun newspaper disclosed a 'close friendship' between Boyd and a married former Conservative councillor; Boyd was suspended in June 2014. Barnes said that she supported Boyd but would not comment further while enquiries were taking place. Following Boyd's suspension there were calls for Barnes's resignation by Conservative MP Roger Gale and Conservative member of the Kent police and crime scrutiny panel Andrew Bowles.[34] The role was replaced by a Youth Advisory Group, which was made up of the local Kent County Youth Council, and the Medway Youth Parliament.[35]

Takes over the Police Force's communications functions

In April 2014 it emerged that Barnes had transferred the Kent Police communications staff to report to her rather than the Chief Constable[36] Local councillors issued a statement saying "This is the police and crime commissioner's most political move since she took office and we do not believe that it will turn out to be in the best interests of the people of Kent and Medway." The decision also came under fire from COPACC, an independent group that scrutinises and monitors the work of crime commissioners. Mrs Barnes presented the change as an administrative one that was related to legislation about commissioners, rather than being intended to increase her own public relations capacity.[36]

Office move costs

In April 2014 controversy arose over the costs of Mrs Barnes moving her office a distance of 2 miles at a cost of £200,000 and allegations about her behaviour and other expenditure.[37]

"Meet the Police Commissioner" documentary

In May 2014 a major controversy developed over a fly-on-the-wall television documentary Barnes agreed to take part in. Meet the Police Commissioner was broadcast on Channel 4 on 29 May 2014 and was widely perceived to be a public relations disaster. The programme was described as "farcical" and "car crash television" and Barnes herself was labelled as "bumbling" and compared to David Brent.[38][39][40] She was criticised by members of her scrutiny body, the Police and Crime Panel, who described taking part in the documentary as "ill-advised" and said it brought the "whole force into disrepute."[41]

Kent Police distanced themselves from the programme[42] and the Chairman of the Kent Police Federation said that Barnes had turned Kent Police into "a laughing stock".[40] Barnes said that "it was never my intention to draw adverse publicity to the excellent work being carried out by officers and staff in often very difficult circumstances".[43]

2016 election

On the 12 March 2016, Barnes announced in a blog post, that she would not be re-standing for another term.[44][45] She stated "I am content that I have delivered what I said I would...Fifteen years service in this intense and all-consuming role is probably long enough," she said, adding that Kent Police was in "a very strong and sustainable position for the future".

Barnes left the role on the 12 May 2016, when the new PCC (Matthew Scott) was sworn in.

Post Police and Crime Commissioner

Barnes left the role on the 12 May 2016, and entered retirement.


  1. ^ "Kent PCC election: Independent Ann Barnes elected". BBC News. 17 November 2012.
  2. ^ Griffiths, Rhys (16 November 2012). "Independent Ann Barnes elected Kent Police and Crime Commissioner". This is Kent.
  3. ^ "Kent police and crime commissioner results". BBC News. 16 November 2012.
  4. ^ Travis, Alan (7 August 2012). "Men to dominate police commissioner elections". The Guardian.
  5. ^ "APA Selects New Deputy Chairs". Association of Police Authorities. 18 September 2009. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  6. ^ a b c "PROFILE: Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes". This is Kent. 16 November 2012.
  7. ^ "Ann Barnes". Director Check.
  8. ^ a b c "Ann Barnes Detailed Background". Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  9. ^ a b "Ann Barnes resigns as police authority chair". BBC News. 2 August 2012.
  10. ^ "Kent police chief questions timing of cuts". BBC News. 10 December 2010.
  11. ^ "Kent Police axes 1,500 posts to tackle 20% budget cut". BBC News. 10 February 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  12. ^ "Police watchdog responds to press release complaints". Kent News. 6 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  13. ^ "Reprimand for police authority duo". This is Kent. 3 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  14. ^ "Police boss bids for the role she dubbed a 'waste'". This is Kent. 27 July 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  15. ^ Francis, Paul (23 July 2012). "Authority chairman Ann Barnes enters race to become Kent police commissioner". Kent Online.
  16. ^ "Ann Barnes to stand for Kent Police Commissioner". BBC News. 23 July 2012.
  17. ^ Francis, Paul (8 November 2012). "Police chief candidates' campaign funding revealed". Kent Online.
  18. ^ "Independent Ann Barnes spends £70k on Kent PCC campaign". This is Kent. 16 November 2012.
  19. ^ Francis, Paul (31 October 2012). "Kent police commissioner candidates Ann Barnes and Steve Uncles in legal row over tweet". Kent Online.
  20. ^ "Ann Barnes independent Candidate For Kent Police Commissioner". Folkestone & My Kent Magazine. 16 September 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2012. The Conservative Party has put forward a candidate, as have the Labour Party; though the Liberal Democrats has not, they have thrown their weight behind Mrs. Barnes. [dead link]
  21. ^ "Police And Crime Commissioner Election Do We Care?". Folkestone & My Kent Magazine. 19 October 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2012. Ann Barnes...may have blotted her independent ticket by linking up with Lynne Beaumont and the Liberal Democrats. [dead link]
  22. ^ "Innuendo, Smear, False statement – Truth and Integrity are My Best Weapons". 10 November 2012. [dead link]
  23. ^ Beckford, Martin (17 November 2012). "The £14-a-vote farce: Cost of electing police commissioners makes it most expensive poll in British history". Mail Online. Ann Barnes won as an independent in Kent but her campaign manager, Peter Carroll, is a former Lib Dem parliamentary candidate.
  24. ^ Francis, Paul (15 August 2012). "Gloves come off in police commissioner race". Kent Online. Mrs Barnes’ campaign is being masterminded by Peter Carroll, who stood twice in Folkestone and Hythe and once in Maidstone as a Lib Dem parliamentary candidate.
  25. ^ Francis, Paul (15 November 2012). "Record low turnout predicted as Kent votes for first directly-election police commissioner". Kent Online.
  26. ^ "Declaration of First Count – Police and Crime Commissioner Election on Thursday, 15 November 2012 – Kent Police Area" (PDF). Kent Police Area Returning Officer. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 January 2013.
  27. ^ Sparrow, Andrew (16 November 2012). "Corby and police commissioner election results: Politics live blog". The Guardian.
  28. ^ "Declaration of Second Count – Police and Crime Commissioner Election on Thursday, 15 November 2012 – Kent Police Area" (PDF). Kent Police Area Returning Officer. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 January 2013.
  29. ^ Jones, Sam (16 November 2012). "Police commissioner elections: meet some of the winners … and a key loser". The Guardian.
  30. ^ "Kent PCC Ann Barnes takes oath of impartiality". BBC News. 22 November 2012.
  31. ^ Cox, Marijke (19 October 2012). "PCC candidate Ann Barnes branded "curiously lightweight" over YouTube video". Kent News (KOS Media).
  32. ^ "Paris Brown becomes Kent youth PCC". BBC News. BBC. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  33. ^ "Paris Brown: Kent youth PCC resigns after Twitter row". BBC News. BBC. 9 April 2013. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  34. ^ Guardian newspaper:Kent youth crime commissioner suspended after 'close friendship', 5 June 2014 Archived 22 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  35. ^ "Kent youth PCC role 'to be replaced by advisory group'". BBC News. BBC. 25 May 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  36. ^ a b "Kent crime commissioner Ann Barnes accused after Kent Police press office takeover move". Kent Messenger. Kent Messenger. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2013.
  37. ^ "Diva crime tsar secretly spends £200k on office". Daily Mail. Daily Mail. 26 April 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  38. ^ "Bumbling Kent police and crime commissioner Ann Barnes struggles to explain her job in 'car crash' Channel 4 documentary Meet the Commissioner". Kent Messenger. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  39. ^ "How can this blithering ninny be put in charge of the police? CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night's TV". Daily Mail. 30 May 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  40. ^ a b "Meet The Police Commissioner: 'David Brent' Police Boss Forced To Defend 'Farcical' TV Show". The Huffington Post. 30 May 2014. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
  41. ^ "Ann Barnes criticised for 'ill-advised' TV documentary". BBC News. BBC. 19 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  42. ^ "Police commissioner Ann Barnes responds to 'car crash' TV documentary". PR Week. 30 May 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  43. ^ "Kent PCC: I didn't mean Channel 4 show to reflect badly on police". The Guardian. 30 May 2014. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
  44. ^ "Kent Police and Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes rules out re-election". BBC News. BBC. 12 March 2016. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  45. ^ {{|0=13 March 2016 }}

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