European Parliament Election: Police stationed outside voting booths in ‘high risk’ areas over fears of voter intimidation and fraud

Includes every single station in London borough of Tower Hamlets

As Britain went to the polls today to vote in the European and local elections, a worrying increase in voter intimidation and fraud resulted in an unprecedented police presence in areas across the UK identified as “high risk”.

Officers were stationed at every one of the 125 polling stations in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, it was reported, in the wake of a “breakdown of trust” between the public and election officials in the past.

Sky News reported that, in all, 16 areas of the country had been identified by the Electoral Commission as having the potential for problems. They included parts of Birmingham, Peterborough, Burnley and Blackburn.

Large groups of party supporters will be stopped from gathering outside polling stations, police said, in attempts to prevent voters being intimidated on their way to booths.

Polling officers in the “high risk” areas have been given additional training, and postal votes are also being closely monitored against other council records.

John Williams, the returning officer for Tower Hamlets, said: “We want to encourage people to use their democratic right to vote. Postal votes are a legitimate way of ensuring those who cannot get to polling stations can have their voice and choice heard.

“But we are also determined to tackle fraud robustly, which is why we have been working closely with the police and the Electoral Commission to maintain the integrity of the elections.”

Speaking to the Telegraph, a council spokesperson said that she was not aware of such a full-scale police presence ever being used in the borough before.

A council spokeswoman said: “We are going to have police officers at all of our 125 polling stations for the whole 15 hours of the poll, which is from 7am until 10pm.

“It is part of efforts we have been making to ensure free and fair elections and make sure we have the most robust procedures in place to make sure the election runs smoothly.

“We are keen to make sure that nobody is intimidated and everybody is free to go in and cast their vote.”

The UK was tasked today with returning 73 members for the European Parliament, as well as selecting candidates for more than 4,000 council seats across 161 English local authorities. Northern Ireland also staged its local elections today.

Labour, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats will await the impact of the Ukip-effect as voters go to the polls following a campaign dominated by Nigel Farage's Eurosceptic party.

Ed Miliband, who had a difficult last few days in the Labour campaign this week, said he was nonetheless feeling “very good” as he cast his votes at Sutton village hall in his Doncaster North constituency.

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, similarly replied that he was “very well, thanks” as he arrived to place his vote in Sheffield.

Yesterday, the Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said she believed the party was “on track” to make gains today, with opinion polls suggesting the party could triple its number of MEPs from two to six.

And David Cameron tweeted a picture of himself walking out of a polling booth with wife Samantha, writing: “Vote Conservative for real change in Europe.”

A shock result in a poll by YouGov, commissioned for The Sun, projected yesterday that Ukip would win the European elections with 27 per cent of the vote, with the Lib Dems dropping down to fifth place.

Before casting his ballot, Mr Farage said: “If we get what we like, things will never be quite the same again.”

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Implementation Consultant (VB,C#, SQL, Java, Eclipse, integ

£40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: SQL Impl...

SQL Technical Implementation Consultant (Java, BA, Oracle, VBA)

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: SQL Technical ...

Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, Fidessa, Equities)

£85000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Head of IT (Windows, Server, VMware, SAN, ...

Lead C# Developer (.Net, nHibernate, MVC, SQL) Surrey

£55000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Lead C# Develo...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering