Tower Hamlets “intimidation-free zone” praised by voters

Catherine Neilan
Follow Catherine
Police outside polling station in Tower Hamlets today (Source: Getty)

Voters have been praising police in Tower Hamlets for keeping polling stations from being overrun with intimidating canvassers.

In the hotly contested mayoral election – called after previous incumbent Lutfur Rahman was found guilty of electoral fraud and deposed – there have been widespread concerns that voters would be intimidated or obstructed from casting their ballot.

As a result police have deployed what one voter described as an “intimidation-free zone” to keep large groups of people away from polling stations.

As well as a heavy police presence at polling stations throughout the borough, tape has been used to mark out areas where people are not allowed to congregate and posters are being used to warn people against electoral fraud.

So far the move has been widely praised by voters – although some have asked that even more be done to ensure the electoral process is not undermined as it was in 2014.

However it's not all plain sailing. One voter claimed to have spotted someone canvassing nearby. Police responded to say officers would be sent to the location.

Inevitably, others are seeing the funny side of the election, which has been mired in controversy. The Met is already investigating 16 allegations of electoral malpractice, specifically regarding improper distribution of election literature and the possible harvesting of postal votes.

Labour's John Biggs is currently favourite to win the seat, although independent candidate Rabina Khan, who has received the backing of her former colleague Rahman, is close.

Related articles