Bob Ashford withdraws from Police and Crime Commissioner race after it is revealed trespass conviction aged 13 disqualifies him

The former Director of Strategy at the Youth Justice Board, said the rules surrounding the elections were “flawed” and an “infringement of the rights of young people”.

A former senior executive at the Government body that oversees youth justice has withdrawn from the race to become a Police and Crime Commissioner because he was once convicted of trespassing when he was 13.

Bob Ashford, formerly Director of Strategy at the Youth Justice Board, said the rules surrounding the elections were “flawed” and an “infringement of the rights of young people”.

But he said that he could not with conscience sign a declaration that he had no legal bar to standing in the knowledge that he had been convicted of a criminal offence that would disqualify him.

Mr Ashford, who was standing as the Labour PCC in Avon and Somerset, is the second candidate for the newly created posts overseeing police forces who has been force to step down because they had a criminal conviction when they were still a child.

Last month the Falklands war hero Simon Weston pulled out of standing for the PCC job in South Wales after questions were raised about his eligibility. The former Welsh guardsman, aged 50, had a criminal conviction when he was 14 for being a passenger in a stolen car which potentially would have disqualified him from standing.

Under the legislation, which the Home Office said had cross party support, a person is disqualified if they have at any time been convicted of an offence for which a person could be sent to prison whether or not they were sent to prison themselves.

In a statement Mr Ashford said he had barred himself from standing to illustrate the pressures and injustices that children and young people who get caught up in the criminal justice system can face.

“At the time I was 13 and living on a council estate in Bristol,” he said.

“I had no previous involvement with the police and came from a good and caring family.

“I remember very well the knock on the door from a group of lads I knew from school. They persuaded me to go out with them and I felt I had little choice. I knew that if I refused they could make my life difficult.

“We went to the railway embankment and one of the lads pulled out an air gun and started shooting at cans.

“I never touched the air gun but felt unable to leave. A goods train passed and presumably the guard reported our presence to the police who arrived a short time later. The lads with the air gun ran away whilst I and two others froze and were arrested.

“I went to court and was to the best of my knowledge charged with trespass on the railway and possession of an offensive weapon. I was told to plead guilty to the two charges even though I had never touched the air gun. I was fined £2 and 10 shillings on both counts. Both of these offences are to the best of my knowledge “imprisonable” offences.”

Mr Ashford added that the police had no record now of the offence and for his previous jobs he had been vetted by the Home Office and been given access to official secrets.

But he said he was not prepared to lie on his declaration form – which in itself would be a criminal offense.

“It is ironic that after a professional and political career spanning my entire life I am now going to be brought down by a piece of legislation which absolutely contradicts the tenets that every individual has worth and the ability to change their lives.”

In a statement the Home Office said: “The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 disqualifies a person from standing for election as a PCC if they have at any time been convicted of an offence for which a person could be sent to prison; whether or not they themselves were sent to prison for that offence.

”This high standard was set with cross-party agreement because PCCs will hold police forces, whose duty is to uphold the law, to account.”

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week