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Labour says sorry to Norfolk police chief over election leaflet picture

PUBLISHED: 15:58 19 November 2019 | UPDATED: 19:34 22 November 2019

Norfolk police have reported Labour election literature to the Electoral Commission because of the use of a photograph of chief constable Simon Bailey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norfolk police have reported Labour election literature to the Electoral Commission because of the use of a photograph of chief constable Simon Bailey. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

The Labour Party has apologised after using a photograph of Norfolk police's chief constable on its election literature - but watchdogs have said they will not be investigating the matter.

Norfolk chief constable Simon Bailey. Picture: Denise BradleyNorfolk chief constable Simon Bailey. Picture: Denise Bradley

The county's constabulary had referred general election material being used by Labour election candidates to the Electorial Commission - because it included chief constable Simon Bailey's photograph.

The Labour literature, a version of which is known to have been used by two Norfolk candidates - Norwich South candidate Clive Lewis and Norwich North candidate Karen Davis - features a photograph and headline taken from the Eastern Daily Press website.

Above a photograph of Mr Bailey is the Eastern Daily Press headline from October 2015 stating 'Chief constable warns cuts to Norfolk police could see fewer bobbies on the beat and detectives not sent to every burglary'.

Mr Bailey had said: "As a police officer you must be impartial. Policing is strictly non-party-political and we carry out our duties without fear or favour.

"I was therefore disappointed to see my words and photograph, originally published in local news media, used in political campaign material for a local candidate.

"I'm acutely aware of the power of perception and therefore wish to publicly clarify I have no desire to promote any political view and in no way endorse such material."

The force had referred the matter to the Electoral Commission, but they have said it is not within their remit to investigate.

Labour has apologised to Mr Bailey for using his photograph without his permission.

A Labour East spokesman said: "In the newspaper article that was featured in a leaflet, the chief constable expressed his concern that government cuts could stop Norfolk police protecting people. Labour shares those concerns, which is why we'll fund the police properly."

Norfolk police issued a further statement in which they said: "The commission has confirmed it does not consider any specific election fraud offences have been committed, a view acknowledged by the constabulary.

"The force has since been contacted by the Labour party who have apologised for using the chief constable's image without permission."

Labour said the last of the leaflets went out for distribution last week, although there were reports that people in Bowthorpe had received them today.

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