Police presence at all Tower Hamlets polling stations to combat electoral fraud

POLICE will be present at all polling stations in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets tomorrow in a bid to prevent electoral fraud.

Officers will prevent large groups of campaigners from congregating outside stations and obstructing or intimidating people voting in the General Election.

A hotline and dedicated email address have also been set up for agents and candidates to report concerns or allegations of fraud. Any complaints will be investigated and responded to within 24 hours.  

In addition, all applications to register to vote have been verified against council records and data held by the Department for Work & Pensions. The signatures and dates of birth on returned postal packs have also been verified against the original application to ensure electors are who they claim to be.

The council said it has worked closely with the police and Electoral Commission to achieve a significant reduction in allegations of fraud since 2014. 

"Some of the measures brought in by the council, such as exclusion zones outside polling stations, have now been recommended nationally as good practice," said acting returning officer Will Tuckley. 

In 2015, the borough's elected mayor, Lutfur Rahman, was removed from office by an election court after being found guilty of vote rigging, intimidation at polling stations, misuse of public funds to induce votes and using "undue spiritual influence" by enlisting local imans to tell residents it was their religious duty to elect him.  

Two parliamentary seats are being contested in Tower Hamlets - Bethnal Green & Bow and Poplar & Limehouse.

In 2015, the Bethnal Green & Bow constituency had a turnout of 64% out of an electorate of 82,727. The turnout in Polar & Limehouse was 62% out of an electorate of 82,081.