Childhood crime ends Labour candidate's hopes

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The Independent Online

A Labour Party candidate for police and crime commissioner (PCC) has withdrawn because of a criminal offence he committed nearly 50 years ago, when he was just 14.

Alan Charles, vice-chairman of the Derbyshire Police Authority and a councillor for more than 20 years, said rules barred him from the post because of a conditional discharge he received for a "minor" crime. He did not say what the crime was.

Mr Charles said: "I have taken the difficult decision to stand down as the Labour Party candidate for police and crime commissioner for Derbyshire. The Labour Party has only now received clarification from the Home Office and the Electoral Commission that juvenile convictions for imprisonable offences will bar people from becoming a police and crime commissioner."

His decision follows that of Labour's Bob Ashford, who announced this week that he would be forced to step down as a candidate because he was fined £5 for two offences he committed 46 years ago when he was just 13. The offences in 1966 concerned a group of boys shooting at tin cans with an air gun.

Mr Ashford, a former director of strategy at the Youth Justice Board who was standing as the Labour PCC for Avon and Somerset, said the rules were "flawed".