Police patrols to monitor Asian voters in Britain

In an effort to deter voting fraud, British police will patrol polling stations in 16 "higher-risk" areas with large South Asian communities during this month`s local elections.

PTI| Last Updated: May 04, 2014, 21:05 PM IST

London: In an effort to deter voting fraud, British police will patrol polling stations in 16 "higher-risk" areas with large South Asian communities during this month`s local elections.

Officers will be stationed at sites in towns and cities identified by the Electoral Commission as being vulnerable to abuse, `The Sunday Times` reported.

In a report earlier this year, the commission had identified 16 "higher-risk" areas including Birmingham, Bradford, Burnley, Derby, Slough, Peterborough, and Tower Hamlets in east London.

In Tower Hamlets, which has large Bangladesh-origin voters, polling stations will be surrounded by a "sterile area" in which voters cannot be canvassed.

In its report, the commission said it was concerned about the extent to which vote-rigging "affects or originates from within specific communities".

Although this is not confined to Asian communities, the commission raised concerns about its prevalence in some areas with large South Asian populations.

"There are strongly held views, based in particular on reported first-hand experience by some campaigners and elected representatives in particular, that electoral fraud is more likely to be committed by or in support of candidates standing for election in areas which are largely or predominately populated by some South Asian communities, specifically those with roots in parts of Pakistan or Bangladesh," the commission had concluded.
It also plans to restrict the use of postal votes.
On May 22, 4,200 plus seats will be contested in 161 councils during local elections in England.