2015 General Election Expenses Fraud - Breakdown of staff investigation time by role and task(s)

The request was refused by Devon and Cornwall Constabulary.

Dear Devon and Cornwall Constabulary,

I am interested in obtaining information regarding how the Police force prioritise, track, itemise and record time spent by officers and staff at all pay grades, working on and investigating Election Expenses fraud allegations relating to the 2015 General Election.

Nationwide evidence submitted by Returning Officers and Electoral Administrators to the Electoral Commission in recent years has high-lighted the general reluctance of Police forces to investigate and prosecute cases of alleged fraud committed by Political Parties, Candidates and their agents, even when the evidence base exists to do so. Often on the basis that such prosecutions would not be in the "public interest"?

The lack of enforcement action by Police in recent years in response to Expenses Fraud allegations had led to the lack of a credible deterrent - and a culture of impunity to lawbreaking being fostered within Political parties, which has widespread consequences for our democracy.

Given the substantial public interest arising from the systematic over-spending by Conservative candidates in marginal seats during the 2015 general election, please provide the following information outlining how the substantial "public interest" for thorough Police investigation and prosecution(s) where the evidence permits, is being translated into Police resourcing of the investigations into GE2015 over-spending.

Please provide in relation to the GE2015 Election Expenses investigation:

1) Total man-hours committed for the investigation(s) to date, both pre and post the 1 year extension granted by the courts in summer 2016.

2) A break down of time spent a) exploring existing information such as media reports already in the public realm, and b) actively investigating new leads and information.

3) The number of staff tasked to the investigation(s), their rank and experience.

4) The numbers of meetings and/or phonecalls held with the Electoral Commission to discuss progress on Election Expenses investigations throughout 2015 - 2016.

Yours faithfully,

Joel M Benjamin

Devon and Cornwall Constabulary

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Dear Mr Benjamin

We acknowledge receipt of your Freedom of Information Request dated 22/12/16

Please provide in relation to the GE2015 Election Expenses investigation:

1) Total man-hours committed for the investigation(s) to date, both pre and post the 1 year extension granted by the courts in summer 2016.

2) A breakdown of time spent a) exploring existing information such as media reports already in the public realm, and b) actively investigating new leads and information.

3) The number of staff tasked to the investigation(s), their rank and experience.

4) The numbers of meetings and/or phone calls held with the Electoral Commission to discuss progress on Election Expenses investigations throughout 2015 - 2016.
Your request will be considered in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000. You should expect to be sent a response within the statutory limit of 20 working days, subject to the provisions of the Act.

Please Note: All disclosures made under FOI become public documents and are published on the Force website.

Should you have any further inquiries concerning this matter, please contact me quoting my reference number as above.

Yours sincerely,

Anna McMahon
Freedom of Information Officer
Tel 01392 226 770 (303220)
[Devon and Cornwall Constabulary request email]
Freedom of Information Unit
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********************************************************************
Contact Devon & Cornwall Police on [email address]
Textphone 18001 101 for the deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired
Always call 999 in an emergency
********************************************************************
Devon and Cornwall Police aims to serve the communities
of Devon and Cornwall and help inspire greater confidence in the
Police. For more information please visit our website at
www.devon-cornwall.police.uk

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Devon and Cornwall Constabulary

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Benjamin,

Please find attached the response to your above numbered Freedom of
Information Request.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Steve Hawkins
Freedom of Information Officer
Tel 01392 226770
[1][Devon and Cornwall Constabulary request email]
Freedom of Information Unit
Please consider the environment - do you really need to print this email?

 

************************************************************************************
Contact Devon & Cornwall Police on [email address]
Textphone 18001 101 for the deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired
Always call 999 in an emergency
***********************************************************************************
Devon and Cornwall Police aims to serve the communities of Devon and
Cornwall and help inspire greater confidence in the Police. For more
information please visit our website at [2]www.devon-cornwall.police.uk
 

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References

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1. mailto:[Devon and Cornwall Constabulary request email]
2. http://www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/

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