Police probe 84 ‘election malpractice’ claims at Tower Hamlets

PUBLISHED: 08:32 12 June 2014 | UPDATED: 09:03 12 June 2014

Polling.Picture: Chris Ison/PA Archive

Polling.Picture: Chris Ison/PA Archive

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Eight ongoing police investigations are continuing out of the 84 complaints of electoral malpractice in Tower Hamlets after last month’s local elections, Scotland Yard confirmed last night.

Officers from the Met’s Specialist Crime and Operations Directorate are following up all complaints, but say the rest “show no evidence that any criminal offences have been committed”.

The investigations follow allegations of intimidation at polling stations on May 22, including a statement from one of the local authority’s own ‘ambassador’ observers witnessing party supporters menacing voters at Spitalfields which he reported to the presiding officer—but claims nothing was done about it.

Door-to-door investigations are now being carried out by the council’s own Electoral Services to make sure names on the Electoral Roll for next month’s Blackwall & Cubitt Town by-election are genuine and the people actually live at the addresses.

Complaints about last month’s poll for Tower Hamlets Council and for Mayor have been flooding in, despite a police officer being posted on May 22 in an unprecedented move at all 75 polling stations.

“There are eight investigations ongoing, with two arrests being made,” a Scotland Yard spokesman said.

“Allegations include failing to put a correct imprint on election literature, one of making a false statement about a candidate, four of false declarations on nomination papers and two relating to postal voting.”

A 24-year-old man was arrested on June 3, suspected of conspiracy to defraud over postal vote applications, bailed to return later this month for further inquiries.

It follows a 38-year-old arrested on May 13 on suspicion of an offence under the 1983 Representation of the People Act after suspected false declarations on nomination forms.

Tower Hamlets council said it welcomed the police investigation into complaints about the elections.

A Town Hall spokesman said: The police have received 84 complaints—but only eight merit investigation. In most cases there’s no evidence that any criminal offences have been committed.”

Police are also looking into six election-related offences in other areas including an allegation of bribery, one of forgery and false declarations on nomination papers.

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