Brian Paddick is a British politician, and was the Liberal Democrat candidate for the London mayoral election, 2008, coming third behind Boris Johnson and Ken Livingstone. He was, until his retirement in May 2007, Deputy Assistant Commissioner in London's Metropolitan Police Service and the United Kingdom's most senior openly gay police officer.
Paddick was educated at Sutton Grammar School, Sutton then went on to study at Queen's College, Oxford (BA), the University of Warwick (MBA), and the University of Cambridge (Postgraduate Diploma in Criminology). When he was at Oxford, he was Captain of the University Swimming Team and Vice-Captain of his college’s Rugby team.
Paddick was a sergeant on the front line during the 1981 Brixton riots, an experience which undoubtedly shaped his attitudes about confrontational police action and strengthened his belief in community policing. He was later in charge of CID at Notting Hill and responsible for policing the Notting Hill Carnival. He was promoted to commander in December 2000, and fulfilled his ambition of becoming head of policing in Brixton.
In November 2003 Paddick was promoted to Deputy Assistant Commissioner, and in April 2005 he took over management of Territorial Policing across all 32 London Boroughs, with responsibility for 20,000 police officers and support staff. He was accountable for reducing 'volume crime' in London (all offences up to and including rape in terms of seriousness) and increasing the number of offenders brought to justice. He was the national lead for the police service on disability and mental health issues for a year and a half. He was also in the media spotlight as the senior Metropolitan Police Service spokesman for the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales and after the 7 July 2005 London bombings.
Following a widely-publicised disagreement with Sir Ian Blair, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, over the wrongful shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube station on 22 July 2005, Paddick was assigned the position of group director of information management, which he considered a 'non-job'. Claiming that the Home Office had intervened for political reasons to ensure that Blair would not have to resign over the incident as it had occurred in the aftermath of 21 July 2005 London bombings, Paddick says he came to accept that his police career was over and that he would never achieve his goal of becoming a chief constable.
Between 1983 and 1988, Paddick was married. 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. Since then he has been a vocal and visible advocate for gay rights and diversity.
He had a knack during his police career of attracting controversy over his policies, outspokenness and his sexuality but this seems to have done him no harm and has given him much credibility and popularity in his post-police political career, as he seems to a confident and charming man of integrity. Being somewhat handsome has probably not hurt either.
Paddick was a contestant on the eighth series of the ITV1 reality television show I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! in 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.
Paddick presently lives in Vauxhall, London, with his husband Petter Belsvik, a civil engineer from Oslo, Norway; they met in a bar while on holiday in Ibiza. They married in Oslo 9 January 2009.
He is a second cousin once removed of British comedy actor Hugh Paddick - best known for his 1960s Julian & Sandy radio partnership with Kenneth Williams.