What was in a letter from Merseyside Police to candidates standing in elections to be a councillor warning them not to break the law?
A letter from Merseyside Police to all candidates and agents (which can be viewed above) in the elections of a councillor to Wirral Council states that there will be “a focus on education rather than education rather than prosecuting minor breaches of Electoral Law” but at the same time warns that, “It is the absolute responsibility that all candidates and agents should make themselves aware of these guidelines and if someone is going to run as a candidate then ignorance of these guidelines will not be a defence.”
The full text of the letter can be read below:
(Merseyside Police logo)
Dear Candidate / Agent,
The Economic Crime Team within Merseyside Police has responsibility for policing General, Local and Parish Elections along with any other elections such as Mayoral or Police and Crime Commissioner.
It is the aim of Merseyside Police, Director of Public Prosecutions and the Electoral Commission to ensure the integrity of the democratic process and ensure the public are confident in this process, and rest assured serious allegations of fraud will be investigated by us. However it is also right that there will be a focus on education rather than prosecuting minor breaches of Electoral Law.
There is a responsibility on the candidate / agent to ensure your election campaigns are conducted fairly and within the guidance provided in your candidate packs. The guidelines for candidates are readily accessible on the Electoral Commissions’ website under www.electoralcommission.org.uk.
It is the absolute responsibility on the candidates and agents should make themselves aware of these guidelines and if someone is going to run as a candidate ignorance of these guidelines will not be a defence.
There is to be a standardised process around reporting these matters and this will be by obtaining a pro-forma from your Election Service Managers and through them. Obviously if there are any urgent crimes in action then please contact 999 or 101 accordingly.
However going forward the only way to report these matters will be through requesting a reporting pro-forma from your ESM. They will review and offer guidance, as some matters will not be a police matter. If they believe there is a criminal offence it will be referred onto us. This will be the only way to report these matters.
Please note that all details of the pro-forma must be completed and sent to Election Services Managers and Police. In order for us to assess a report, the reporting person must be willing to provide a statement and attend court if needed, in order for the matter to be investigated.
Economic Crime Team
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