WEST Yorkshire Police and the Crown Prosecution Service have effectively whitewashed widespread postal vote fraud in May’s local elections.
This week the police acknowledged that three men had admitted attempting to defraud the election in Dewsbury South, during which former Conservative councillor Khizar Iqbal was ousted by local postmaster and Labour candidate, Abdul Patel.
But the police have refused to give details of the actual offences the men admitted, or to name the guilty parties.
Mr Iqbal had given council officials evidence of more than 50 incidents of postal vote fraud, where registered voters did not and in some cases had never lived at the addresses.
Some lived at other houses in the district, others overseas.
Mr Iqbal also believed that benefits fraud might be involved in some of the cases.
This week The Press tried to visit one Savile Town building which had four late postal vote registrations from it – only to find it had been demolished!
It was one of the dozens of reported cases not investigated.
In the event the police referred only three possible crimes to the CPS despite Coun Patel reportedly having admitted submitting masses of postal vote applications on behalf of local Asian residents, and of collecting completed ballots door to door, against election guidelines.
Khizar Iqbal said: “This is a very sad day indeed for democracy in Dewsbury and in Kirklees.
“West Yorkshire Police, Kirklees Council and the Labour Party in Dewsbury should hang their heads in shame for the fact that they have failed to adequately address the issue of widespread electoral fraud in the Dewsbury area.”
Mr Iqbal added: “Had West Yorkshire Police and Kirklees Council taken this matter seriously from the outset and intervened earlier and secured evidence and led a far more vigorous investigation into the incidents and the individuals involved, I am certain they would have been able to secure prosecutions as opposed to police cautions for those found guilty of these offences.
“What makes matters worse is that this fraud was committed and organised by a small group of people who have manipulated and intimidated a significant proportion of the local ethnic community in the process.
“These people are well known but because of political correctness, political interference at Kirklees Council and their fear of upsetting these individuals who will cry racism at every turn, they have allowed this electoral fraud to stand and it will no doubt happen at the next election in 2014 and the general election in 2015.”
He continued: “Kirklees Council and West Yorkshire Police have turned a blind eye to electoral fraud in Dewsbury and public confidence in both authorities on this issue is completely shattered.
“I think it will take years if ever for this confidence to be restored.
“Nobody will trust the police or the council on this issue ever again.
“The message is clear, if you want to defraud or steal an election then come to Kirklees.”
A police spokesman said: “I can confirm three men from separate addresses in the Dewsbury area have received cautions for offences under the Representation of the People Act. The three men are aged 33, 32 and 27.
“West Yorkshire Police act in accordance with the guidance issued in July 2005 in relation to cautioning offenders.
“We do not name people subject to a caution. This is because, unlike people who go before a court, they are not in the public domain and it is not a matter of public record.”