Coun­cil­lor ‘thanked for rais­ing tax’

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Councilelections -

THE coun­cil­lor re­spon­si­ble for the au­thor­ity’s fi­nances has claimed vot­ers have thanked him for the coun­cil tax in­crease. The decision to raise coun­cil tax by 2.95 per cent this year was at odds with the Con­ser­va­tive Party’s guid­ance to freeze taxes. But Cllr David Seaton, who won in Or­ton with Hamp­ton and who is the cab­i­net mem­ber for re­sources, said: “When I have been out knock­ing on doors it was some­thing vot­ers were talk­ing about. “But they ac­tu­ally thanked us for go­ing against the na­tional party. They think it was a brave decision that was needed to im­prove Peter­bor­ough.” ELEC­TION day in Peter­bor­ough was marred by the news that three men were ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of elec­toral mal­prac­tice of­fences.

A ma­jor po­lice pres­ence in the city, par­tic­u­larly in the Cen­tral Ward cov­er­ing Mill­field and New Eng­land, saw the num­ber of ar­rests made dur­ing this year’s elec­tions rise to four, af­ter a 31-year-old man was ar­rested in the city on Tues­day.

In Cen­tral Ward at 9am yes­ter­day, a man was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of im­per­son­at­ing a voter.

He was taken to Thorpe Wood for ques­tion­ing and was later bailed.

Then, yes­ter­day evening, a 17-yearold boy was ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of at­tempt­ing to vote un­der­age at polling booths in Seargeant Street and Har­ris Street, both in the Cen­tral Ward. An­other man, whose age has not yet been re­leased, was also ar- rested on sus­pi­cion of aid­ing and abet­ting an un­der­age per­son to vote.

City su­per­in­ten­dent Dan Va­j­zovic said that po­lice were ro­bust in en­sur­ing there was no foul play dur­ing the elec­tions.

He said: “We have made three ar­rests to­day.

“We had a strong po­lice pres­ence through­out Peter­bor­ough from 7am and are very pleased with the re­sults.

“We re­ceived in­for­ma­tion from mem­bers of the public through­out the day and we would like to thank them for their co-op­er­a­tion.

“We need to send out a mes­sage that elec­toral mal­prac­tice is not ac­cept­able and we will clamp down on it.

“Our op­er­a­tion is not fin­ished when the polling sta­tions closed, they are on­go­ing and we were there all the way through the count.”

The main fo­cus for po­lice was on the Cen­tral Ward, which over the years has seen a num­ber of in­ci­dences of al­leged elec­toral mal­prac­tice.

This fol­lows the high-pro­file con­vic­tions of sev­eral men, in­clud­ing Peter­bor­ough’s first Asian mayor Mo­hammed Choud­hary and an­other for­mer mayor Raja Akhtar, in 2007 and 2008 for fraud­u­lently at­tempt­ing to win Town Hall seats in the 2004 elec­tion.

As well as the three ar­rests, po­lice have is­sued five ap­peals for in­for­ma­tion af­ter more al­le­ga­tions of elec­toral fraud were made.

These ap­peals re­late to Gilpin Street, where a man was re­ported to have at­tempted to im­per­son­ate a voter.

This hap­pened twice more yes­ter­day, ac­cord­ing to Supt Va­j­zovic, at polling sta­tions in Glad­stone Street and in Har­ris Street.

There have also been two re­ports of at­tempted proxy vot­ing, though there is no in­di­ca­tion at this stage where that is al­leged to have taken place.

De­spite there be­ing wor­ries of al­ter­ca­tions that marred last year’s count at the East of Eng­land Show­ground, pro­ceed­ings at Town Hall went off peacefully.

As ever, there was a bois­ter­ous re­ac­tion to the re­sult as Labour’s Nazim Khan was re-elected to the Cen­tral Ward seat ahead of Con­ser­va­tive can­di­date Mo­hammed Sabeel.

Af­ter retaining his seat, Cllr Khan ad­mit­ted that there were al­ways wor­ries over elec­tions in the Cen­tral Ward, but said that with the high­est city turnout of 54 per cent, there’s no doubt that there is real in­ter­est in pol­i­tics in the area.

He said: “There’s al­ways some con­cern over this but it’s a place where peo­ple are in­ter­ested, pas­sions are high and feel­ings are rife.

“It gets peo­ple ex­cited.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.