Corruption czar Sir Eric Pickles reserves special criticism for the Metropolitan Police in his report into Town Hall abuses in Tower Hamlets.
The police have still failed to bring any criminal prosecutions long after the corruption of disgraced mayor Lutfur Rahman was exposed in the High Court in 2015.
Read Securing The Ballot
Scotland Yard closed the file on Tower Hamlets despite evidence and testimony at the High Court case that suggested criminality had taken place. The police insist that the allegations do not reach the right level of proof, even though the judge ruled that the court case was acting like a criminal court.
Poplar and Limehouse MP Jim Fitzpatrick condemned the inactivity in a Parliamentary debate.
In Securing The Ballot, Sir Eric says that the force’s inaction “sends a worrying signal that the police are soft on tackling and prosecuting electoral fraud, when faced with competing operational demands”.
Sir Eric said: “Following the Tower Hamlets election court case, it is astonishing that no criminal prosecution has been brought by the Metropolitan Police.
“No further action has been taken against the disqualified individuals or the (now-disbanded Tower Hamlets First) political party.
“The Met has maintained there was ‘insufficient evidence that criminal offences had been committed’. This is a surprising statement.
“The election court disqualified Lutfur Rahman and his agent for a litany of corrupt and illegal practices. He was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt - to a criminal standard of proof – on a series of grounds.”
The report also found that there were “clear links” between electoral corruption and the " endorsement and funding of extremist causes ”.
And on political correctness, he says: “Abuses of postal voting on demand were noted too often be carried out in communities where an individual’s right to vote in secret and exercise free choice may not be fully valued.”
Isle of Dogs councillor and Tower Hamlets Conservative leader Peter Golds has long been a vocal critic of the Met Police’s inactivity in a broad range of council
He said: “Two weeks ago I attended a thoroughly depressing meeting initiated by the police who once again showed how out of their depth the Metropolitan Police is in handling voter fraud. As Sir Eric says, it should not be private citizens who do the job that the police should be doing.”
“For years the Met maintained that there was a lack of evidence, whilst at the same time ignoring the vast amount of evidence that was given to them.
“There are positive proposals [in the report] to protect the integrity of our electoral system. That it is easier to obtain a ballot paper than a library book says it all and the proposals to tighten up postal voting will be welcomed.
“The electoral system must be fair for all voters and the acceptance of practices which damage democracy under the guise of ‘cultural’ activities – an excuse popular with the Metropolitan Police – must cease.”
“The proposal to place investigation of electoral malpractice under the National Crime Agency must also be welcomed. This will see specialised, trained officers, who understand both the law and the electoral process investigating electoral fraud, rather than local police forces who claim to have other priorities.”
Police deny allegations
In a statement, the Met Police said the claims are completely unfounded.
It said: "The MPS is disappointed that Sir Eric Pickles has expressed such views in relation to no prosecutions being brought for alleged election offences in Tower Hamlets.
There are "important differences" in the legal framework that governs the admissibility of evidence to an election petition hearing and a criminal prosecution, it added.
The statement continued: "Due to the specialist and complex nature of the legislation, the MPS worked closely with and sought advice at a number of investigative stages from the specialist team within the CPS.
"The suggestion that the MPS has somehow failed to take action is completely unfounded. We must work within the legislative framework set by Government."
Electoral commission under fire
The report also warns that the Electoral Commission, the independent elections watchdog, is engaged in a series of tick-box inspections of town hall electoral registration departments which are ineffective.
An Electoral Commission spokesman said: "The commission takes electoral fraud extremely seriously and takes action before each set of elections to make sure the police and electoral administrators are aware what to do if they receive any allegations.
"We welcome the fact that Sir Eric Pickles has repeated so many of the Commission's long-standing recommendations in his report, including our call for voter ID from 2014, which the UK Government must now finally respond to."