by Group Office on 24 February, 2015
Following complaints from Liberal Democrats in Redcar constituency, the Acting Chief Constable of Cleveland is to issue guidance to about the importance of not involving police officers in election campaigns.
This follows photographs published on social media of Labour council candidates and the Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Redcar appearing alongside uniformed police officers.
The Acting Chief Constable replied to the complaints, saying that he was “writing to candidates making it clear that they must not use such pictures in their campaign material.”
Lib Dem Councillor Chris Abbott, who serves on the Police & Crime Panel, said:
“Labour should know that this is a misuse of public money and should not be putting pressure on the police to pose for their publications. Labour’s candidate Ms Turley shows a lack of mature understanding of the need for our police force to avoid being placed in a position where their integrity may be questioned.
“As an agent and candidate at many Parliamentary and Council Elections in the past I was always told that in no circumstances could the local police be seen in photographs with election candidates.
“It is only a couple of weeks ago when Ms Turley Tweeted a faked photograph of her Lib Dem opponents.”
Text of the email from the Acting Chief Constable:
Dear Cllr. Abbott
Thank you for making me aware of this picture, we have issued guidance for our officers and staff regarding their interactions with candidates and potential candidates leading up to the elections in May. I have asked, following your e-mail, that this is further reinforced to all our staff. I am also writing to candidates making it clear that they must not use such pictures in their campaign material.
The Twitter matter you outline was addressed by the Police and Crime Panel on 3 February 2015 and Mr Coppinger provided an explanation to them, this was accepted the PCP recognising that it was a momentary error which was corrected within seconds.
Iain Spittal MSc, Acting Chief Constable, Cleveland Police