The idea of elected police chiefs was always controversial, but ? unlike with, say, NHS reorganisation ? it at least had a comprehensible aim. The legislation went through without too much noise, and the elections are set for November. But now two snags have emerged. Magistrates have been barred from standing ? a stricture affecting several Conservative candidates ? and one eminently qualified Labour runner, Bob Ashford, has withdrawn because an ancient teenage transgression leaves him falling foul of unforgiving rules.

© Guardian News & Media Ltd

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