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Labour's new Lincolnshire police commissioner candidate vows to 'change failing system'

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: September 20, 2012

  • Paul Gleeson has been named as Labour's candidate for the police commissioner role in Lincolnshire

  • Phil Dilks was forced to step down after breaking the law as a teenager

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The Labour candidate vying to become police commissioner for Lincolnshire has vowed to do whatever it takes to change the "failing police system".

Boston borough councillor Paul Gleeson has been named as the Labour party candidate for the role to oversee the work of police after Phil Dilks, known as Fair Deal Phil, was forced to step down after breaking the law when he was a teenager.

Mr Gleeson, who has also served as a statutory clerk responsible for giving legal advice to tribunals in four counties, said it was a "real privilege" to receive the candidacy.

The previous candidate Mr Dilks announced his decision to step down after it emerged he had broken the law during a "schoolboy prank" involving a stolen crash helmet in 1968, when he was 16.

He said: "I never dreamed when I was selected as Labour's choice to be Lincolnshire's first Police and Crime Commissioner that a school-boy prank more than 44 years ago would rule me out as a candidate," he said.

In June, the BBC reported that Mrs May said legislation around police commissioner candidates was not aimed at barring someone who had a conviction at the age of 16.

It came after Falklands veteran Simon Weston's candidacy for one of the roles was thrown into doubt because as a teenager he was convicted of being a passenger in a stolen car.

Mr Dilks said: "Theresa May has said she wanted to make it clear that anyone with a minor issues from when they were a teenager, must be able to stand in the elections.

"This offence would not even preclude me from being Home Secretary.

"When do you stop judging someone on something they did when they were a kid?"

"This minor offence committed 44 years ago would not preclude me from being an MP or even Home Secretary in charge of every police officer in the country – and responsible for every Police and Crime Commissioner.

"I've tried to improve my local community as an elected councillor for 17 years and member of Lincolnshire Police Authority for almost eight years. I'm deeply disappointed at not being able to stand for election to this new role to help make Lincolnshire a safer and better place to live.

"But I trust those who know me will judge me on my work over a lifetime rather than what resulted in a £5 fine in the 1960's."

Mr Gleeson said: "My experience as a councillor means I will do everything I can to stand up for every one of Lincolnshire's communities.

"Crime and disorder, antisocial behaviour, fly-tipping and low morale are priorities.

"I've seen first-hand where the system is failing and what needs to be done to change it.

"This Tory government is making the wrong choices on crime, taking frontline police off the streets, weakening powers to deal with antisocial behaviour and opening the door to the privatisation of core services.

"In Lincolnshire, we are already seeing the impact of these wrong choices with 32 fewer officers since the general election and a prediction that Lincolnshire could lose 138 officers by 2015.

"I will put fighting the impact of these reckless changes at the heart of my campaign."

The PCC elections have been a low key affair up to now but it is thought that the Home Office is planning a multi-million pound advertising campaign for October.

The elections for Policing and Crime Commissoners take place on November 15.

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  • Gnome_Chomsky  |  September 20 2012, 9:17PM

    I'm interested in the fact that Ms May made a comment specifically about Simon Weston, a respected and independent candidate in an area where the Conservatives probably stood no chance, but has stayed tight-lipped about Labour candidates with similar convictions. Recently Mr Cameron also made a comment specifically about Jimmy Carr's tax affairs, contrary to the tradition of not identifying individuals in such cases. He was not so open, for example, about the tax status of a previous party fundraiser, Michael Ashcroft, who might have offset his contributions by using his non-domiciled status to avoid paying tax. He was ennobled in 200 and now sits in the House of Lords in a country where he apparently does not live and to which he does not contribute financially. As for Mr Dilks, if he really speaks with extraneous commas, and apostrophe's, I think he will struggle to get my vote. If it's the Echo's mistake, however, I take his point that a Prime Minister could have a more significant criminal history than a barred PCC candidate, and I agree that is hypocrisy. Perhaps the recent reselection of David Laws as a cabinet member should give Mr Cameron and Ms May food for thought, along with the expenses cheats who still sit in either house. Does Mr McCartney or Mr Davies have a view?

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  • Roadscource  |  September 20 2012, 1:11PM

    "broken the law during a "schoolboy prank" involving a stolen crash helmet in 1968" Blimey whats that all about ! "This minor offence committed 44 years ago would not preclude me from being an MP or even Home Secretary" Yes we ALL realise this after the "MPs expenses scandal" or is it really called "Major Fraud"? .......no it cant be can it or some prosecutions would have followed.

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  • alp141  |  September 20 2012, 10:38AM

    Keep politics and politicions well away from policing.most of them haven't a clue about the law any way.

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  • Whiley45  |  September 20 2012, 8:45AM

    The money being spent on this useless fiasco is bad enough. Now we have to put up with a multi million pound advertising campaign paid for by the taxpayers.

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