Election 2015: Precautionary police presence on polling day

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POLICE and local authorities work closely together in the run-up to elections to plan for any disruptions on the day.

Sussex Police will dedicate officers to election day operations, while maintaining a fair and impartial approach.

Police will be alerted, for example, if a presiding officer, tasked with delivering the ballot boxes to the count, does not arrive and cannot be contacted.

Chief Superintendent Tony Blaker said: “There is a joint policing operation with Surrey in place for the General Election in May and that includes supporting colleagues from the Metropolitan Police in ensuring the security of VIPs resident in or visiting Sussex during the run-up to election day.

“Our role is to ensure the democratic and peaceful right of all eligible voters to cast their votes and we will facilitate the right to peaceful or lawful protest if any is planned. We will investigate any criminal activity associated with election activities and where a crime is proven to have taken place, we will work to bring offenders to justice.

“However, while there will be a number of officers dedicated to the operation on election day, we anticipate that demand for specific policing, if any, will fall within our usual neighbourhood policing activities. We will police at all times with the highest standards of professionalism, maintaining a fair and impartial approach to all people during the election process, recognising the need for police impartiality.”

Despite the police being on alert, councils are keen to stress plans put in place are purely precautionary, forming part of a number of contingency plans.

Officers must be aware of potential disruptions, such as accidents on the A27 delaying the delivery of ballot boxes.

Work on the logistics of the election began in December, with staff well trained to deal with emergencies.