Police to patrol every Tower Hamlets polling station
Alastair Lockhart, LDRS
- Credit: PA
Election day in Tower Hamlets will see police officers posted at every polling station in the borough to combat electoral fraud.
Voting takes place on May 5 for the borough's next mayor and councillors.
The Met Police said it would be policing each of the 71 polling stations between 7am and 10pm on polling day.
In an open letter to “residents, partners and stakeholders”, Chief Inspector Jai Singh and Inspector Ashley Rose said they would be doing all they can to help the vote run smoothly.
The inspectors said having officers stationed at polling places was in line with the 2016 Pickles Report on electoral fraud.
Lord Pickles, the report’s author, gave 50 recommendations to combat electoral fraud. These included piloting ID checks at polling stations, tackling postal vote ‘harvesting’ and targeting the link between election fraud and immigration fraud.
The Met inspectors said: “Since the Pickles Report in 2016, the government has been committed to increasing security of the UK’s elections and therefore Central East Command Unit is working closely with our partners at electoral services, the local authority and Canary Wharf security team to maintain the integrity of our polling stations."
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All neighbourhood policing officers will be taken off their normal duties on election day as part of the polling station policing plan, they added.
A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets Council said: “Electoral malpractice is taken extremely seriously in Tower Hamlets.
"As well as the standard checks and controls in place at elections, the returning officer for Tower Hamlets has taken extra steps to ensure the elections are free, fair and transparent.
“The returning officer works closely with the council, the Electoral Commission and the Metropolitan Police’s special enquiries team to ensure that the planning and the running of the election is to the highest standard.
“Tower Hamlets has a dedicated web portal where residents can report concerns they have of suspected electoral malpractice. Visit www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/vote.
"All information reported is taken extremely seriously and, after an initial assessment, may be passed onto the police for a formal investigation to take place.”
The council added that there will be an exclusion zone next to polling stations where no campaigning will be allowed to take place, and that systems would be in place to ensure the privacy of ballots.