I'm in no way convinced that elected Police Commissioners are the answer to the problems with policing in Britain today - I still think a new Royal Commission is needed to make the changes to return the police to a Peelean force of citizen constables, locally employed and locally accountable. However, it's at least a step in the right direction. What is absolutely extraordinary and utterly misguided is Lord Justice Goldring's ruling that JPs will not be able to remain as magistrates if they stand for office. It betrays a complete misunderstanding of the role of the office and an unacceptable judicial bias toward a central, Statist criminal justice system.
I can understand a ban on full-time, salaried members of the judiciary being barred from standing; Goldring's comments make sense when applied to High Court, Crown Court and District judges. However, merely because District judges share a jurisdiction with lay magistrates is no reason to exclude JPs. Many will see in this a further move by the Lord Chancellor's department to run-down and abolish the local magistracy in favour of full time DJs.