Police urged to fight racist campaigning

The Local Government Association (LGA) has urged police to stamp out any racist or religiously intolerant political campaigning in the run-up to the local elections on 10 June.

LGA chairman Sir Jeremy Beecham this week asked police to be on their guard, following concerns that racist campaign material will be used to further certain political party campaigns.

Beecham said: ‘We want all political parties to sign up to conduct local election campaigns in a way that will not inflame feelings about racism and immigration.

‘We are concerned that the BNP and others will damage community relations,’ he added.

The warning was issued against a backdrop of controversy and increasing public concern over the Middle East and asylum and immigration issues.

A Home Office spokesman confirmed that police forces had stopped the distribution of campaign material that threatened public order in the past but would not give details.

He said: ‘The police will be responsible for making sure that any material brought to their attention is compliant with the relevant legislation.’

Beecham added that the move was not censorship and insisted that free speech was a ‘treasured right’ and should not be abused.

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