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Magistrates send more to prison in Avon and Somerset

The Howard League for Penal Reform says sentencing can be a result of a 'postcode lottery'. Credit: Hendrik Schmidt/DPA/Press Association Images

Magistrates in Avon and Somerset are more than twice as likely to send someone to prison as elsewhere in the country.

Courts in the area imposed custodial sentences in 4% of cases in 2011, compared to 1.5% in Warwickshire.

The Howard League for Penal Reform says the Ministry of Justice figures reveal a postcode lottery for sentencing. It says community sentences are cheaper and they give better results.

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Policeman wins award for saving a man drowning in Bristol docks

PC Grant Goulden came to our studios earlier to tell us about the act that won him a Police Bravery Award Credit: ITV West

A police officer who pulled a man from freezing waters has been presented with an award for his bravery. In December 2010, PC Grant Goulden from Avon and Somerset Police was called to reports that a drunken man was about to jump into the freezing docks in Bristol. A short time later he did.

When the police arrived at the scene, crowds had gathered, and the man was struggling in the ice cold water. Because it was so cold, officers were advised not to go in after him. But PC Goulden did, saving the man's life. Even so, they both needed treatment for hypothermia.

Labour announce new candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner

Labour have announced the name of their candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner in Avon and Somerset after their previous choice was forced to stand down.

Business leader John Savage, who chairs the Bristol University Hospitals trust, will now contest the job which comes up for election on November 15th. He replaces Bob Ashford, who had to step down over a criminal conviction as a teenager in 1966.

Police Commissioner candidate to challenge ruling that has made him step down

Bob Ashford can't stand for Police Commissioner because of a crime he committed at 13 Credit: ITV West

The Labour Party candidate due to stand in the Avon and Somerset police commissioner election has stepped down due to a previous criminal conviction. Bob Ashford admitted trespassing on a railway line and possessing an air gun in 1966 when he was only 13.

"This really is sending out the message to all young people that, regardless of how long ago your offence was or how minor or trivial it was that offence will be with you and you will be treated as an offender for the rest of your adult life and that's absolutely wrong.

"So I do intend to challenge both this ruling and I will continue to fight for justice for young people. I have spent my entire career doing just that both as a social worker and in the criminal justice field and that's what I will continue to do"

'I never touched the air gun' Bob Ashford on his criminal conviction

Bob Ashford is stepping down as the Labour candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner because of a criminal conviction he got aged 13. On his website he describes the events that lead to him getting a conviction in 1966.

He says on his website that he went out with a group of friends from his estate, and

" One of the lads pulled out an air gun and started shooting at cans. I never touched the air gun and felt unable to leave, as I was frightened at what might happen at school".

He then goes on to say;

"I then went to court and was to the best of my knowledge charged with trespass on the railway and possession of an offensive weapon. I was told to plead guilty to the two charges even though I had never touched the air gun. I was fined £2 and 10 shillings on both counts."

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Bob Ashford 'unhappy' with circumstances of stepping down

It is with great regret that today I am standing down as the Labour Party candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset. I have received confirmation that a criminal offence I committed as a 13 year old in 1966 for which I was fined £5 and would today almost certainly not lead to a court case has now barred me from standing for the PCC post. I have always declared this previous conviction throughout my career and during the selection process...

– Bob Ashford, Former Labour candidate for Police and Crime Commisioner

Bob Ashford steps down as Labour’s Avon and Somerset candidate

Bob Ashford Credit: ITV West

Bob Ashford has announced he is stepping down as the Labour candidates for the new post of Police and Crime Commissioner in Avon and Somerset. It comes after he was barred from standing for the position because of a previous criminal record. He was given a conviction aged 13.

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