Call for police watchdog to investigate officers over ‘concerns’ in Tower Hamlets electoral fraud probe

Lutfur Rahman is the former mayor of Tower Hamlets (Pic: Mike Brooke)

Lutfur Rahman is the former mayor of Tower Hamlets (Pic: Mike Brooke) - Credit: Archant

The police watchdog has been asked to begin an investigation into electoral fraud during the 2014 mayor race in Tower Hamlets.

The deputy mayor of London Sophie Linden is calling for the probe saying there were “a number of concerns” surrounding the Met’s investigation.

She has today written to Matt Parr, regional inspector for Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) calling for action.

Ms Linden expressed her keenness to see that the police investigations commanded the trust and confidence of the people of Tower Hamlets who she said “are keen to see the integrity of the democratic process robustly secured”.

The Met investigation into Lutfur Rahman’s election in 2014 failed to lead to any convictions in spite of the high court finding him guilty of electoral fraud and malpractice,

Sadiq Khan’s deputy said the public “need to have the highest level of confidence that any and all criminal prosecutions have been considered and pursued” as she made her call for a full review.

Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs welcomed the move, saying: “Protecting the security and integrity of our democracy is vitally important.

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“People are deeply frustrated that despite Lutfur Rahman and his colleagues being found guilty by the election court, the police have failed to bring criminal charges.”

He went on to describe a “culture of denial” with two councillors from Lutfur Rahman’s banned Tower Hamlets First party announcing they plan to run for mayor in 2018.

Conservative assembly member Tony Arbour said: “This is better late than never, however the mayor must tell Londoners why it’s taken him ten months to order this investigation.

“Lutfur Rahman, against whom the most serious accusations were levelled, has been allowed to re-establish himself under the guise of a new party and threaten the political reputation of the borough once again.”

The Inspectorate has said they will respond to the mayor’s office in due course.

Earlier this month the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee called for an inquiry after publishing its findings as part of an investigation into the difficulties of tackling election fraud.

Its probe revealed a bundle of 27 files of evidence weren’t reviewed by the Met in what committee chairman Steve O’Connell AM said was a shocking failure.

A met spokesman said in response: “The Met police will work closely with any HMIC inspection alongside our own current work.”