The Electoral Commission and the Police Service of Northern Ireland have jointly published a new guide for candidates who are standing in local elections. The guide ‘Joint Guidance for Candidates in Elections - When it goes too far’ has also been developed with the assistance of the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland and the Public Prosecution Service.

Head of the Electoral Commission Northern Ireland, Cahir Hughes, said “The Electoral Commission takes very seriously its role to support and assist those standing in our local elections. Whilst the democratic process encourages discussion and challenge the increasing emergence of abuse, intimidation and harassment of candidates, particularly online, is totally unacceptable. This guide aims to support candidates and provide them with information on how to protect themselves and co-workers, what might constitute a criminal offence and when to report to police”

Police Service of Northern Ireland election lead, Assistant Chief Constable Bobby Singleton, said ‘This is an important guide for candidates which gives them crucial information on staying safe, steps they can take to prevent physical and online abuse, how the Police Service can support them and when to report an incident to police.  Any electoral process will have a broad range of views, and generate debate, but it is totally unacceptable when election candidates become the subject of violence, abuse, intimidation or harassment’.

The guidance is available online on the Police Service website (here) and also the Electoral Commission, Electoral Office and Public Prosecution Service websites.