Man arrested for postal vote fraud as police probe Tower Hamlets election
PUBLISHED: 17:58 04 June 2014 | UPDATED: 18:21 04 June 2014
A man has been arrested for suspected postal vote fraud as police conduct eight investigations over the local elections in Tower Hamlets.
The arrest comes as the Met police confirmed it has received 84 complaints of electoral malpractice in the borough.
A spokesman said these include “a number [relating to] alleged behaviour of campaigners at polling stations”, but said there was no evidence that crimes had taken place “in the majority of cases”.
The 24-year-old, arrested yesterday on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud in relation to postal votes, was taken into custody and later bailed until July pending further inquiries.
The news follows a call by Jim Fitzpatrick MP for the Electoral Commission to broaden its review of the May 22 election, which saw the vote count drag on for five days, to include allegations of voter intimidation at polling stations.
On Monday, newly-elected Mayor Lutfur Rahman dismissed the allegations on LBC radio, saying he attended every polling station on election day and saw “no sign of intimidation”.
He said the claims were made by “politicians who are sore losers”, but added that reports of intimidation should be reported to the police and investigated.
A Tower Hamlets police spokesman said: “There are currently eight investigations ongoing in relation to Tower Hamlets. “These refer to one allegation of 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.”
Meanwhile, Tower Hamlets Council’s returning officer is investigating 20 complaints about the “conduct of campaigners outside polling stations” and has referred them to the police.
A spokesman added: “We welcome the thoroughness of the police investigation into complaints about the 2014 borough elections.
“We note that while the police have received 84 complaints, only eight of the complaints merit an investigation, as in the majority of cases there is no evidence that any criminal offences have been committed.”
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