A Conservative-run council in Surrey has been accused of using public resources to boost the campaign of a Tory Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) candidate — by performing public consultation on CCTV cameras at a Conservative campaign event.
Work by council officers to raise awareness of new CCTV cameras in the area took place at an event the “primary purpose” of which was described as promoting Tory PCC candidate Julie Iles. The council denied that any public funds had been used, but a news item about the meeting on their website (now deleted but grabbed by Scrapbook here):
“[The event’s] primary purpose was to introduce the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner candidate to the local community. The decision was made to include an informal sounding out on CCTV concurrently.”
The memory-holed news item didn’t mention any of the other candidates, and all of them have said that they will be complaining to the Electoral Commission over the alleged abuse of power. Even Ms Iles’ own statement seems to suggest she received favouritism from the council:
“… as I had an action day at a clean-up in Stanwell [the council] suggested I pop along to the meeting.”
At time of writing, Surrey is still counting. It’s safe to say that if Ms Iles wins, there will be more questions to come on this topic.