So I can't stand?

Like most nationalists of a certain age I have my arrested for the cause medal with bar, and because of that it appears that even if I had more money than sense, I still couldn't stand election for Police Commissioner.

Simon Weston (a person I wouldn't vote for, but for whom I have a lot of respect) may be barred from standing because of a conviction which he received in the 1970's.

I was also arrested in the 1970's, and convicted of throwing a full can of beer at Prince Charles - my conviction was a travesty of justice. The can was empty – would anybody, other than an opinionated magistrate believe that I would waste a FULL can on Carlo?

I have convictions that are less honourable than those for the national cause, such as one for assaulting a patient in my care in the mid 1980's. The circumstances were that the patient was posing a knife threat to me and my staff so I slapped her and then disarmed her. I was up in court for assault, pleaded guilty and was given an absolute discharge –the closest thing that a magistrate can say to you should have pleaded not guilty and we would have let you off! The Nursing Registration Council came to a similar conclusion, and I kept my Registered Nurse status after their investigation.
I have a conviction for throwing a brick through the window of a holiday home! If I was guilty I wouldn't have denied it, but I didn't do it! I was set up by the police for naughty things that I had done to TV masts and postal vans that they thought they knew I did, but couldn't prove - so they set me up!

Having been a customer of the bum side of the police service, I think that I could offer an understanding of the service that those who have escaped conviction can never contemplate. Isn't it wrong that those of us who have, perhaps, the most pertinent experience of the police should be barred from standing?
Of course the opposing argument is that if a conviction bar wasn't in place we could elect a mass murderer to be our Commissioner!

We could!

But isn't it an insult to the people of North Wales, South Wales, Dyfed Powys and Gwent to suggest that we would?


  1. Exactly - give the electorate some credit, and there may be very good reasons for electing someone with convictions.

  2. I am sorry, but the truth is that the elected Police Commissioners are involved with policing and the local control of policing. There are certain roles in public life that require people not to have convictions and for which even spent convictions can result in disqualification. A line has to be drawn somehwere ... and this is one that I think is both defensible and reasonable.

  3. And yet he could stand for Parliament. If elected he might be given the Home Office portfolio, in which case he would have jurisdiction over the Police Commissioners.

  4. Anon: There is a verse in the Bible that says all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23); I'm sure that the same is true in the temporal world too – that there is no such person as one who has never, ever, broken the law – the difference between those of us who have minor convictions and those with a clean criminal record is that some have been lucky enough never to have been nabbed!

    As Cibwr says the electorate should be given some credit in deciding if they want a person with a record to represent them or not; if I was allowed to stand and if my criminal record was published as a result, then I would have my work cut out explaining why I should be elected, but it should be the electorate's decision!

    If Plaid Cymru was going to nominate candidates I couldn't think of a finer candidate than Ffred Ffransis for Dyfed Powys – the most moral person that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing a man with multiple convictions and terms of imprisonments all caused by his willingness to break the law when the law was wrong.

    As Peter says, a person with convictions can become an MP and even Home Secretary. Much of the 20th century prison reforms that have benefited these islands' legal systems came about because of a small number of MPs who had suffered imprisonment as Suffragettes, trades unionists and Conscientious Objectors who were able to inform Parliament of their own experience of prison.

    A conviction shouldn't be a bar from standing; those who vote should decide if it is a bar to election in a democracy.

  5. I agree that the line has to be drawn somewhere. But the line should be drawn by the electorate.

    Doesn't barring people with convictions assume we have a perfect society? We really don't.

    Alot of people have convictions in the UK for doing good or moral things. The electorate should be allowed to make the judgement whether its on Simon Weston or Alwyn ap Huw.

    A case could be made to the electorate that having people who have convictions, and have served their time, stand as candidates gives them vital experience when it comes to policing issues. Simon Weston could tell you the issues that led to him being in a stolen car, the problems with poverty and so on. I wouldn't vote for the guy but the electorate should have the right to judge him on his past.

    I think there is a reality here that Police Commissioners are part of politicising the police. Labour are just as guilty as the Tories and Lib Dems on this. Note how they all are saying they will use these roles to "fight crime". Well crime isn't dealt with by Police Commissioners, the root causes of crime lie in poverty, joblessness, lack of prosperity, lack of opportunities and so on. Narrowing those issues so they can be siloed by a US-style Police Commissioner lets politicians completely off the hook.

  6. I think you underestimate how shocking your confessions are, Alwyn. You write of "naughty things that I had done to TV masts". Now, you are entitled to your point of view (even if it as eccentric one) but you are not entitled to be destructive or throw things at other people.

    1. I'm not sure that I understand your point Gwilym. Clearly things which one has a conviction for are illegal and by definition things that one is not entitled to do according to law.

      My comments about my criminal past are hardly confessions, either – the term criminal record suggests very strongly that my misdemeanours have been recorded by the police and by local papers. In a discussion about law and order it would be stupid not to be open about my criminal record – if I didn't some wag would pick something up from the internet or remember an old newspaper report and post a nasty anonymous comment – so I may as well be up front about it!

      Whether a person is entitled to break the law is an interesting moral conundrum. Many of what are considered to be our most basic human rights have been won by those who have suffered harsh penalties for opposing unjust laws – but then almost every lawbreaker can justify their wrong doing – for example she was asking for it!