This article was published on March 27, 2015 and information contained within may now be out of date.
From the start of the official pre-election period on March 30, until the declaration is made after the election, there are specific offences with regards to comments about candidates standing in the election that become criminal offences.
Detective Sergeant Jarman, the lead for Electoral Malpractice in Lincolnshire Police, advises that the public should be careful in regards to what they say on social networks, in regards to candidates at the forthcoming elections, whether national or local.
Detective Sergeant Jarman: “It is a criminal offence for a person to make or publish any false statement of fact about a candidates personal character.
“This could lead to that person being prosecuted under the Representation of the People Act, which imposes a fine of up to £5,000.
“Making such comments requires police time to carry out an investigation and will impact on other crime enquiries.
“Additionally such comments could lead to civil action for slander being made.”
He added: “Lincolnshire Police are committed to ensure that elections are run in a fair and free manner to ensure the democratic process is unimpeded.”