Every police force to have dedicated senior Detective for election candidate security
15 November 2019, 08:30
In the run-up to the General Election prospective MPs are to be issued with security advice to ensure they remain safe while on the campaign trail.
The guidance issued by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), College of Policing and the Electoral Commission to help those running for office respond to intimidatory behaviour.
The guide says: "Political debate and discussion underpins our democratic process. The freedom to engage in debate and disagree with others is a key component of public life.
"Sometimes, it can go too far. When it does, it may lead to harassment, intimidation or threatening behaviour and, in some circumstances, may constitute criminal offences. This can cause you to question whether you have made the right decision to participate and engage in public life"
The guide informs candidates they will be "subject to heightened public exposure," and times when those campaigning have been exposed to "unacceptable levels of harassment and intimidation."
It lays out what steps should be taken, providing practical security advice and under what circumstances people should contact the police.
Martin Hewitt the Chair of the National Police Chief's Council spoke to LBC's Nick Ferrari to explain what measures were in place to support those campaigning.
Chief Constable Hewitt said the advice deals with "any sort of intimidatory behaviour," towards those on the election trail.
The Chief Constable said it was a policing priority that candidates and activists "can conduct the election, over the next four weeks, safely and securely."
Nick Ferrari asked how easy it was for police to detect abuse and harassment which appears online?
The top cop said the advice tells candidates "how they can be safe online," and still maintain their social media presence and be safe online.
Every force in the country will have a dedicated Detective Superintendant who will act as the point of contact for candidates or agents to seek advice from and report incidents too.
The Chief said on a daily basis he would "get to know everything that's gone on across the country, to make sure we have a safe and free election."
In May the Commissioner of the Met Police said threats to MPs are at "unprecedented" levels with a "considerable rise," in the last year.
Alongside the Commissioner, the head of UK counterterrorism policing, Neil Basu, acknowledged that the anger provoked by Brexit was a “huge driver” behind the increase.