Friday, 10 August 2012

Police and Crime Commissioners No. 2 ~ Candidates barred by old stale convictions

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 section 66(3)  (here) is clear in that a person is disqualified from being elected as, or being, a Police and Crime Commissioner if:

(a) the person is the subject of -

(i) a debt relief restrictions order under paragraph 1 of Schedule 4ZB to the Insolvency Act 1986;

(ii) an interim debt relief restrictions order under paragraph 5 of that Schedule;

(iii) a bankruptcy restrictions order under paragraph 1 of Schedule 4A to that Act;

(iv) a bankruptcy restrictions interim order under paragraph 5 of that Schedule;

(b) a debt relief restrictions undertaking has effect in respect of the person under paragraph 7 of Schedule 4ZB to that Act;

(c) the person has been convicted in the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man, of any imprisonable offence (whether or not sentenced to a term of imprisonment in respect of the offence); or

(d) the person is incapable of being elected as a member of the House of Commons, or is required to vacate a seat in the House of Commons, under Part 3 of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (consequences of corrupt or illegal practices).

Section 66(4) states - For the purpose of subsection (3)(c) -

(a) “imprisonable offence” means an offence -

(i) for which a person who has attained the age of 18 years may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment, or

(ii) for which, in the case of such a person, the sentence is fixed by law as life imprisonment;

There are numerous imprisonable offences as so defined.  Candidates are unable to stand for election no matter how old the conviction.  There are of course some who will be able to stand for election irrespective of dubious conduct in their careers but who have not been convicted of an imprisonable offence.  Hopefully, the electorate will, in due course, deliver its verdict on any such candidates.

Never spent:

No matter how old the conviction, it will not become "spent" under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 for the purposes of Police and Crime Commissioner posts .  See the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions)(Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2012 which amends the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions)Order 1975.  An Explanatory Memorandum to the 2012 Order states - "This disqualification criterion is stricter than for any other elected office. The special nature of the role, with its oversight of the police, is held to necessitate this higher threshold to ensure that a PCC’s good character is not brought into question and they are able to command public trust."

An example of the effect of this is the case of Alan Charles who was the Labour Party's candidate for Derbyshire.   He had a conviction 47 years ago at the age of 14.  The Guardian 10th August 2012.  Mr Charles has served as a councillor for over 20 years and also as Vice-Chair of the Derbyshire Police Authority.  he notes - "The bizarre thing is that you can be prime minister, home secretary, or the police minister or a member of the House of Lords but not a police commissioner candidate."


  1. And the restriction is very much more onerous than required to be a Chief Constable.

  2. Sounds a little too stringent... For more on this and what is really important when it comes to policing, take a look at “Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police” ( in US and EU). And the blog at where other current police improvement issues are discussed. Good luck and may we all experience not just good but great policing!

  3. This sounds like a major improvement, although somewhat strict, regulations regarding the administrative responsibilities related to the post. Moreover, the first few clauses are essential in light of the recent debt relief related problems which the CFPB have been tracking and cracking down on.