Guidance for (Acting) Returning Officers administering a UK Parliamentary election in Great Britain

Dealing with allegations of electoral fraud

It is important that once you have put in place your plans for monitoring and maintaining the integrity of the election in your area you offer clear advice to candidates, agents and electors on how to make allegations to ensure an effective and consistent approach is taken to managing them.  

You should ensure that all candidates and agents understand:

  • how to raise specific concerns about electoral fraud relating to the election
  • what type and level of evidence will be necessary to enable allegations to be investigated by the police
  • how allegations will be dealt with
  • what information and feedback they should be able to expect about the progress of any investigations 

The police will investigate any allegations of fraud until, following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) or, in Scotland, with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), they are either satisfied that no further action is necessary or appropriate, or they forward the case file to the CPS or COPFS for prosecution. The police should keep you and, where appropriate, the ERO informed of the progress of the case.

The Commission and the National Police Chiefs’ Council (formerly the Association of Chief Police Officers) have supported the College of Policing to produce a manual of guidance for policing elections in England and Wales. Police Scotland, in consultation with the Electoral Commission and the Electoral Management Board for Scotland (EMB), has produced a guidance document for police officers in Scotland on preventing and detecting electoral fraud.

Last updated: 19 December 2023