CANDIDATES running in next month's General Election in constituencies in Gwent and across the UK are being given advice by police on keeping safe on the campaign trail.

Following attacks on the offices of former MPs Jess Phillips and Helen Goodman, as well as the murder of Jo Cox in 2016, police forces across the UK have been briefed by the Parliamentary Liaison and Investigation Team – a national unit established by the Metropolitan Police.

Gwent Police Detective Chief Superintendent Nicky Brain said: “Our officers are fully briefed and prepared to respond to any matters relating to the election.

“If candidates, campaigners and members of the public experience abuse, harassment or feel threatened, or are witness to it, they should immediately report to police by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.”

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Candidates have been given advice from the Cabinet Office – with the information put together by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), the Electoral Commission, the College of Police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

The guidance describes the warning signs of dangerous escalating behaviour, including “threats of imminent violence, fixated ideas or release of personal information not already in the public domain”.

NPCC chairman Martin Hewitt said: “As with every election, police will work to prevent and detect crime, and enable the democratic process to proceed unhindered.

"Strong and varied views are the mark of a healthy democracy, but these should not cross the line into criminal abuse, harassment or disorder. There are serious penalties for those who are found guilty of criminal offences.

"We're not going to tell anyone to limit their campaigning or enthusiasm in any way, but we are taking precautionary steps ourselves and providing sensible advice to candidates."

Candidates have been told to:

  • Call 999 immediately in an emergency
  • Contact the officer in the police force in charge of election security
  • Not to canvass alone and to always make sure someone knows where they are
  • Keep records of any incidents
  • Make sure “sensitive personal information” is not widely available online and report online abuse