Police chief candidate Alan Charles reinstated

 

A Labour Party candidate for police and crime commissioner (PCC) who stepped down because of a criminal offence he committed nearly 50 years ago aged just 14 has been reinstated.

The Labour Party said it had sought further legal advice on behalf of Alan Charles after what it said was a "distinct lack of clarity" from the Home Office on the issue. As a result Labour said it had become clear he was eligible to stand as a candidate after all.

Mr Charles, a Derbyshire councillor for more than 20 years and vice chairman of the region's police authority, stepped down last week as he said the rules barred him from standing for the post because he received a conditional discharge for the "minor" crime.

In a statement last week, Mr Charles said: "I have today 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.

"Despite serving as a councillor for over 20 years and as vice Chair of Derbyshire Police Authority, I have received confirmation that a minor criminal offence I committed as a 14-year-old around 47 years ago, for which I was given a year's conditional discharge, has now barred me from standing for the PCC post."

Mr Charles did not release any details of the incident for which he was convicted.

Today an East Midlands Labour Party spokesperson said: "Due to a distinct lack of clarity from the Home Office we have sought further legal advice on behalf of Alan Charles, and it has become clear that he is eligible to become a Police and Crime Commissioner candidate.

"Therefore, Alan Charles is Labour candidate for PCC in Derbyshire, continuing Labour's campaign against the Tory-led Government's huge cuts to the police and reckless changes on crime and community safety.

"The Labour Party has written to the Home Office calling for them to urgently provide more information and much greater clarity on the interpretation of their legislation for all involved in these elections. Currently the Home Office appears to be embarrassed by their own law."

Police and crime commissioners will be elected in 41 areas across England and Wales on November 15.

PA

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