Derbyshire police candidate Alan Charles reveals crime

A Labour candidate for the post of Derbyshire police commissioner has revealed he stood down from the race because he stole a purse as a teenager.

Alan Charles stood down after being told a conditional discharge, given 47 years ago when he was 14, barred him from standing for office.

Home Office rules state anyone convicted of an offence for which you could be sent to prison, cannot stand.

Lawyers later said the offence did not count and Mr Charles was reinstated.

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 disqualifies a person from standing for election as a police and crime commissioner (PCC) if they have, at any time, been convicted of a prisonable offence.

'Playing dare'

Speaking for the first time about his offence, Mr Charles said he did not initially want to talk about it.

"I was a young lad - I don't remember if I was 13 or 14," he said.

"I was walking home from school with a friend down a busy shopping high street, playing dare and I took a woman's purse from her shopping bag as we were walking past her.

"We were caught and I have to say I was pleased we were caught. I got a very sharp shot across the bows and I have never been in trouble since," he said.

He added: "Let's be honest - there are an awful lot of young people who do daft things at 13 or 14 years old.

"We don't want this to be a blight on the rest of their lives for them."

Previous convictions

Labour East Midlands said it had been advised by a barrister and legal experts that the decades-old offence would not disqualify Mr Charles from the role after all as he received a conditional discharge as a juvenile.

Earlier in August, Labour's Bob Ashford said a crime committed when he was 13 had blocked him from the candidacy in Avon and Somerset.

And in July, Falklands veteran Simon Weston withdrew from elections for the post in south Wales after doubts were raised about him being convicted and fined for being a passenger in a stolen car when he was 14.

PCCs will replace police authorities in 41 areas following elections on 15 November.

They will have powers to hire and fire chief constables, set police force budgets and commission some criminal justice services.

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