Lutfur Rahman and his corruptly elected associates should not sleep easily tonight as a full and proper criminal investigation into their actions comes closer.
An inquiry into the failings of the Metropolitan Police to do its job after the electoral petition result has been formally requested and a logical consequence of this is that another police force is tasked with looking at the extensive evidence of corruption under Rahman.
Sophie Linden, London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, has formally requested that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) conduct an independent inquiry into allegations that the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) failed to undertake a proper investigation into the activities of Lutfur Rahman.
In the letter, reproduced in full below, Ms. Linden says that she is ‘…keen to ensure that the investigations can command the trust and confidence of Londoners and particularly residents of Tower Hamlets, who are keen to see the integrity of the democratic process robustly secured. The public need to have the highest level of confidence that any and all criminal prosecutions have been considered and pursued.’
Too right we are Sophie! Because we know they haven’t!
Letter from Sophie Linden to HMIC
”You will be aware of allegations of electoral fraud in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets relating to the conduct of the 2014 election for Mayor of Tower Hamlets.
The Metropolitan Police Service investigated a number of allegations relating to this election at the time, and subsequent to the Election Court ruling that saw the result of the election overturned. No convictions have resulted from these investigations.
A number of concerns have been raised with me about the conduct of the police investigation into these, and connected, matters.
It is right, particularly in cases such as these, that there is no political pressure whatsoever applied to the police, and that they should be able to carry out their investigations, which are ongoing, without fear or favour.
That said, I am keen to ensure that the investigations can command the trust and confidence of Londoners and particularly residents of Tower Hamlets, who are keen to see the integrity of the democratic process robustly secured.
The public need to have the highest level of confidence that any and all criminal prosecutions have been considered and pursued.
To that end, I would like to exercise my powers provided for in Section 54 of the Police Act 1996, as amended by the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, to invite you to carry out an inspection into this case and make recommendations for future improvement.
I look forward to discussing this, including appropriate timescales, with you in more detail shortly.”
Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime
Protecting the security and integrity of our democracy
In a press statement Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Biggs, said: “I welcome the Deputy Mayor’s decision to call in HMIC to review the police’s investigation into electoral fraud in Tower Hamlets.
“Protecting the security and integrity of our democracy is vitally important. Trying to steal an election is a serious crime and local people are rightly deeply frustrated that despite Lutfur Rahman and his colleagues being found guilty by the Election Court, the police have failed to bring criminal charges against anyone involved.
Even now, there is a culture of denial with for example two councillors who were at the heart of Rahman’s banned Tower Hamlets First party announcing they are picking up his mantle and are intent on running for Mayor in 2018.
“Despite considerable scrutiny it remains unclear why the police failed to speak to key witnesses and left boxes of evidence untouched. I hope that HMIC’s review will help to reassure the public that this will not be able to happen again.”