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ELECTIONS 2005: NEW MEASURES TO TACKLE FRAUD IN BIRMINGHAM

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Birmingham City Council elections office is working jointly with West Midlands Police to help prevent fraud in the ...
Birmingham City Council elections office is working jointly with West Midlands Police to help prevent fraud in the forthcoming general election and local election.

The joint operation involves researching all available information together with intelligence gathering and other forensic enquiries. A special team has been formed from members of the economic crime unit of West Midlands Police and officials from the local authority's elections office to carry out enquiries expediently into possible electoral fraud.

They will be visiting households across the Birmingham area, checking with occupiers that their applications for postal votes are bona fide. They will reassure applicants that their vote is safe, if they follow the instructions issued with the postal vote and then return their vote in the sealed envelope in the post as soon as it is received. If it is too late to do this, then it should be taken direct to the elections office, or handed in at the polling station in their constituency.

In the past some political parties have collected postal votes from voters and hand delivered them in bulk to the elections office and, though this practice is not unlawful, it causes considerable delay in the process. The police and returning officer feel this is not good practice and should be discouraged.

Returning officer Lin Homer said: 'We have held discussions with all political parties and asked them to stop this practice.'

Assistant chief constable (crime) Stuart Hyde said: 'We are working very closely with the authorities to prevent and, if necessary, investigate any offences.'

It is very important that if members of the public have information about any criminal activity by anyone interfering with the electoral process, they should report it immediately to their local police. They can contact the police on 0845 113 5000 or Crime Stoppers on 0800 555111.

If members of the public have any enquiries in relation to voting, they should contact the elections officers at 150 Great Charles Street, Birmingham, or telephone 0121 303 2737.

LGC story CRATE OF UNCOUNTED VOTES FOUND

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