AN investigation requested by London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime into the Metropolitan Police’s handling of electoral fraud in Tower Hamlets has revealed that a lack of oversight from senior officers led to a number of failings in the initial police inquiry in 2014.
The failings resulted in a second 16-month investigation, diverting much-needed resources from other priorities.
Sophie Linden asked Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) to carry out an inspection in March last year. HMICFRS found a number of failings with the original police investigation – which took place under the previous Mayoralty and did not lead to any criminal convictions.
By contrast, HMICFRS found that the Met’s re-investigation was painstaking, thorough and achieved its objectives. However, HMICFRS warned against complacency and identified seven steps the Met should take to reduce the risk of the problems of the first investigation arising again.
The report ruled that any potential future investigation into allegations of electoral fraud should be given high priority and be led from the front by experienced chief officers with access to suitable resources. The importance of providing regular updates to the public and keeping accurate records of allegations, investigations and decisions was also highlighted.
The Metropolitan Police investigation has now concluded, but the force has arranged for the City of London Police to conduct an independent investigation on its behalf, due to the City of London Police’s expertise in such matters.