15 November 2019

Security guidance issued to help candidates stay safe on the campaign trail

All election candidates are today (15 November 2019) being issued with guidance to help them respond if they experience intimidatory behaviour or abuse during the election campaign.

Guidance for Candidates in Elections – When it goes too far  provides advice on the actions or behaviours that could constitute a criminal offence, when to contact the police and practical steps candidates can take to protect themselves.

It has been jointly developed by the College of Policing, National Police Chiefs’ Council, the Electoral Commission and the Crown Prosecution Service, and will form part of official candidate packs issued by the Cabinet Office.

Police forces have also geared up to provide a tailored response to candidates including providing security briefings and assigning senior single points of contact for candidate security.  The NPCC will oversee reports and incidents at national level.

The Parliamentary Liaison and Investigation Team (PLaIT), a national unit established by the Metropolitan Police following the tragic murder of Jo Cox, will be providing its expertise to local forces and election leads.

The guidance gives candidates information about potential offences such as criminal damage, abusive or threatening behaviour, harassment, stalking, hate crimes and election related crimes such as false statements against a candidate’s character.

 

Candidates are advised to:

  • engage with their single point of contact within their local force for candidate security;
  • take active steps around personal safety to keep themselves and their campaign staff safe;
  • not to canvass alone and make sure someone knows where they are canvassing;
  • keep records of any intimidating behaviour or abuse;
  • conduct an online health check to ensure sensitive personal information is not widely available;
  • and report intimidation or abuse to internet service providers and social media platforms.

 

Candidates are also warned of potential signals that behaviour could be escalating – threats of imminent violence, fixated ideas or release of personal information not already in the public domain – and to immediately call 999 in an emergency.


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