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New Kent youth commissioner represents a fresh start for role

PUBLISHED: 16:59 05 March 2014 | UPDATED: 17:00 05 March 2014

Kerry Boyd, 19, (left) poses with Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, outside Kent Police Headquarters in Maidstone, Kent, on her first day in the role as Kent's new Youth Commissioner following the announcement of her appointment yesterday.

Kerry Boyd, 19, (left) poses with Ann Barnes, Kent Police and Crime Commissioner, outside Kent Police Headquarters in Maidstone, Kent, on her first day in the role as Kent's new Youth Commissioner following the announcement of her appointment yesterday.

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Kerry Boyd's job as the new Kent youth commissioner has undoubtedly been made harder by the previous incumbent.

The 19-year-old student is, however, keen to distance herself from the maelstrom of controversy caused by Paris Brown’s resignation last year, with some strong words of her own.

Miss Brown, then 17, left her £15,000-a-year job after anti-gay and racist tweets she had posted - when she was between 14 and 16 - were found in April.

Miss Boyd was finally announced as her successor on Tuesday (March 4) nearly a year on from that turbulent six-day period, which culminated in a police investigation into Miss Brown’s online posts. No action was later taken against Miss Brown.

This week Miss Boyd, from Margate, was asked by The Reporter what she felt is the biggest problem facing teenagers today and she was keen to get her point across.

“I think the main issue is online bullying,” she said without hesitation. “It is an issue because the perpetrator is hiding behind a screen – there are a lot of things he or she can say that they would not say face to face.”

Clear, decisive dialogue is certainly one trait Miss Boyd’s will bring to the role.

On her appointment, Kerry Boyd added: “I am really looking forward to taking it on and working with the commissioner.”

“I am very proud to take the position – it is really exciting.”

Ann Barnes, Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner, sitting next to Miss Boyd, highlights how her new charge was picked from more than 50 applicants.

All of them were put through a rigorous vetting process to try and avoid a repeat of last year’s debacle.

“Kerry just had the edge and she struck me as a strong minded young woman,” explains Mrs Barnes. “She is active in the community and she knows an awful lot of what young people want. I am really pleased she accepted the role.”

Miss Boyd will initially start part-time while she completes her second year studying education studies and business studies at Canterbury Christ Church University. She will take on the role full-time in April.

The keen Chelsea FC supporter feels that knowing what it is like to be a teenager, plus working at Hartsdown Academy in Margate where she worked as PE support, will put her in good stead when it comes to advising her new boss.

Mrs Barnes insists she was happy to wait for Miss Boyd purely through the strength of her application. “I have waited a long time to find her,” she said.

But she is clearly happy to put the past behind her and have a new youth commissioner in place.

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