With four weeks to go before mayoral and local voting is due the latest election crime update from the Metropolitan Police reveals that there have been a total of 49 allegations of electoral related crime in Tower Hamlets.
West Midlands Police recently visited Tower Hamlets to review the policing plan for the elections on 3rd May which includes the deployment of over 600 police officers at polling stations across the borough.
Real threat to democratic process
The operation is unprecedented in both scale and scope and is a reminder that there is still a very real threat to the democratic process in the borough.
New measures to prevent intimidation of voters on polling day included the use of body worn video cameras by police officers at polling stations which can be activated when there is suspicion that an offence is being committed.
The 2015 election court judgement found that the previous directly elected mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman and all Tower Hamlets First councillors were corruptly elected in 2014.
The electoral victories of Rahman and Alibor Choudhury, Cabinet Member for Resources, were overturned and both barred from standing for public office until 2020.
Possible criminal activity during the Tower Hamlets First administration of 2010 – 2014 is currently the subject of the Met’s Operation Lynemouth.
New platform, same faces
The purpose of the recent registration of the Aspire party is generally accepted to be as a new platform for the political comeback of Rahman.
Cllr. Ohid Ahmed, the official Aspire party mayoral candidate and Rahman’s deputy mayor while in office, is considered to be Lutfur Rahman’s proxy candidate for the May 2018 election.
LW has asked Cllr. Ahmed to fully explain the nature of the political relationship between himself and the ex-mayor. No reply has been received to date.
The below is a summary of the key points in the Situation Report.
39 allegations of electoral crime to SET
As of 07:45 hours on Tuesday 3rd April 2018 the MPS Special Enquiry Team (SET) have received a total of 39 notifications/allegations in relation to the Tower Hamlets Local and Mayoral Elections on 3rd May 2018.
A further 10 allegations of crime are investigated by Tower Hamlets police CID. These allegations are not considered to be Representation of the People Act (RPA) offences but are considered related to the Election or involve an MP, councilor or candidate.
- Two of the allegations were reported by a member of the public.
- 27 (71%) of allegations have been reported by Councillors or Candidates from LBTH
- 21 of the 39 allegations relate to the same offence, i.e. Sec 106 RPA False Statement as to Candidate.
- 15 Allegations are from comments persons have made on social media.
- 11 Allegations are now closed as no evidence of a criminal offence.
- Guidance was provided on the 12 March by Tower Hamlets Chief Executive, Returning officer and SET at the local Agents / Candidates briefing about has been given on Monday 12 March 2018 at the Agents / Candidates briefing re behaviour, conduct and considerations to be made when posting information on social media sites.
- Further Guidance was provided on 15 March at NSY to Electoral Service Managers (ESMs) across London and the HQ reps of the 4 main political parties.
The Electoral Commission’s summary of electoral offences can be found here(PDF).
The tables below give basic details of all 49 notifications / allegations of electoral crime in the borough and the current status of each.
|Number||Date Reported||Report format||Allegation||Reported By||SET Update|
|1||Feb-17||Crime Report||Canvassing Activity||Member of Public||Closed|
|2||Nov-17||Crime Report||Canvassing Activity||Journalist||Ongoing|
|3||Dec-17||Crime Report||Canvassing Activity||Councillor||Closed|
|4||Dec-17||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor||Closed|
|5||Dec-17||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor||Ongoing|
|6||Dec-17||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor||Ongoing|
|7||Dec-17||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor||Ongoing|
|8||Dec-17||Crime Report||Breach of Imprint allegation.||Councillor||Closed|
|9||Dec-17||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor||Closed|
|10||Jan-18||Crime Report||Corrupt withdrawal of candidature allegation.||Candidate||Ongoing|
|11||Jan-18||Crime Report||Canvassing Activity||Councillor||Closed|
|12||Jan-18||Crime Report||False Statement as to candidate allegation.||Councillor||Ongoing|
|13||Jan-18||Crime Report||Misuse of corporate literature.||Councillor||Ongoing|
|14||Jan-18||Crime Report||False Statement as to candidate allegation.||Councillor||Ongoing|
|15||Jan-18||Crime Report||False document.||MP||Closed|
|16||Feb-18||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor||Ongoing|
|17||Feb-18||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor||Closed|
|18||Feb-18||Crime Report||Treating allegation||Councillor||Ongoing|
|19||Feb-18||Crime Report||Influencing journalists allegation||Journalist||Ongoing|
|20||Feb-18||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor||Ongoing|
|21||Feb-18||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor||Ongoing|
|22||Feb-18||Crime Report||Treating allegation||Journalist||Ongoing|
|23||Feb-18||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor||Ongoing|
|24||Feb-18||Crime Report||Canvassing Activity||Community Figure||Ongoing|
|25||Feb-18||Crime Report||Breach of Data Protection Act allegation||Journalist||Closed|
|26||Feb-18||Crime Report||Forgery/False Instrument allegation.||Journalist||Ongoing|
|27||Feb-18||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor||Ongoing|
|28||Feb-18||Crime Report||Bribery allegation.||Journalist||Closed|
|29||Feb-18||Crime Report||Tampering with ballot papers allegation.||Journalist||Ongoing|
|30||Feb-18||Crime Report||Bribery allegation.||Journalist||Ongoing (Duplicate on No 5 Appendix B list.)|
|31||Feb-18||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor or Candidate||Ongoing|
|32||Feb-18||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor or Candidate||Ongoing|
|33||Mar-18||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor or Candidate||Ongoing|
|34||Mar-18||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor or Candidate||Ongoing|
|35||Mar-18||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor or Candidate||Ongoing|
|36||Mar-18||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor or Candidate||Ongoing|
|37||Mar-18||Crime Report||No Criminal Offence - Civil Dispute||Councillor or Candidate||Closed|
|38||Mar-18||Crime Report||False Statement as to Candidate allegation.||Councillor or Candidate||Ongoing|
|39||Mar-18||Crime Report||Election publication complaint||Member of the Public||Ongoing|
Relevant Arrests and Reported Crime - Tower Hamlets CIDThe table below reflects all allegations of crime being investigated by local Tower Hamlets police from January 2018, these are not RPA offences but are considered related to the Election or involve an MP, councillor or candidate.
|Number||Date Reported||Report Format||Allegation||Reported by||HT Update|
|1||Jan-18||Crime report||Malicious communications||Councillor||Ongoing investigation|
|2||Jan-18||Crime report||Malicious communications||Councillor||Ongoing investigation|
|3||Jan-18||Crime report||Malicious communications||Councillor||Ongoing investigation|
|4||Jan-18||Crime report||Malicious communications||Councillor||Ongoing investigation|
|5||Feb-18||Crime report||Bribery||Councillor||Passed to SET Team (Duplicated as No.30 on Appendix A list.)|
|6||Mar-18||Crime report||S/Send Letters||Journalist||Closed|
|7||Mar-18||Crime report||Crime related Incident||Councillor||Closed|
|8||Mar-18||Crime report||Malicious communications||Councillor||Ongoing investigation|
|9||Mar-18||Crime report||Public order||Councillor||Ongoing investigation|
|10||Mar-18||Crime report||Crime related incident||Councillor||Closed|
Reporting suspected electoral crimesIf you are aware of any electoral crimes taking place you can report electoral fraud online here online or you can contact the police directly by emailing SETelections@met.police.uk. You can also call 101 or contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 who will pass the information on to Tower Hamlets Police.
West Midlands Police visited Tower Hamlets on 27/03/2018 to review the MPS policing plan.
The most recent police planning meeting for the Tower Hamlets Elections was held on the 22/03/18. A proportionate and effective policing plan was discussed with a robust crime strategy in partnership with the Special Enquiry Team (SET).
On 21/03/18 Detective Superintendent [Borough Commander] Sue Williams held a meeting with the Independent Advisory Group members to discuss police activity in advance of the Election during which Detective Superintendent Stuart Ryan from SET shared non personal information on allegations as part of our openness and transparency.
Tower Hamlets council held an Election Agents meeting on 12/03/2018 at the council chambers. Detective Superintendent Stuart Ryan from the SET team attended this meeting to answer any questions.
Commander David Musker and Detective Chief Superintendent Sue Williams met with the Chief Executive Will Tuckley on 08/03/2018 to discuss crime prevention and ensure lessons learnt from previous Elections.
Training has been arranged and underway for all Police Officers at Tower Hamlets working the Elections. This will cover relevant legislation and electoral offences contained in the Representation of the People Act 1983 (RPA 1983). There will also be inputs from our Specialist units with expertise in this area.
The police have upcoming meetings with London Borough of Tower Hamlets Council, the Electoral Commission and colleagues from SET. A working protocol has been agreed whereby any allegation of crime made through LBTH will be referred directly to the police and the complainant contacted.