Police step in after threatening behaviour in parish council by-election

Published: 18 Apr 2013 16:000 comments

EXCLUSIVE

POLICE stepped in to warn parish council by-election candidates about poor electoral conduct after allegations of threatening behaviour.

A letter from police and Slough Borough Council was sent to all four candidates standing in the Wexham Court Parish Council by-election, their agents and ward councillors on Tuesday.

It was issued after police received reports of two incidents where a candidate and agent were threatened.

Inspector Andy Young said: "There was some allegations of threatening behaviour that both the police and council have been made aware of and we thought this was the most appropriate way [to address it]."

The letter read: "We realise elections can stir deeply-held convictions and can be an emotional time for all involved, however several issues of poor conduct have been brought to our attention and we cannot let this continue."

It warned making false allegations or malicious statements is against election, criminal and civil law and reminded the parties involved any incidents of threats, verbal assault or physical assault should be reported to the police without delay.

It added: "We would prefer this election to be held in the spirit of friendly battle rather than acrimonious war."

Electoral Commission guidelines were also issued with the letter, which was signed by inspector Young, inspector Shelly Squire and Slough Borough Council's returning officer Ruth Bagley.

The polls are due to close at 10pm today with the results announced later at the council's offices in St Martins Place, in Montem Lane.

The candidates standing were Doreen Atkinson, Independent, of The Normans, Dave Davies, Independent, of Norway Drive, Kenneth Wright, Independent, of Myrtle Crescent, and Trevor Allen, of Montague Road, Labour.

The by-election was called after Slough Borough Council project officer Vinay Vyas stepped down, due to a potential conflict of interest after his job role changed.

A similar warning was sent out to candidates in the Baylis and Stoke ward by-election last year. Inspector Young added: "I don't think this sort of thing is restricted to Slough. Local elections always have a bit of tension and I don't think it's unusual."

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