POLICE in Derry have warned the public that any person caught removing or damaging election posters face criminal prosecution.
It follows a number of incidents involving posters for candidates standing for election on May 2 for Derry City and Strabane District Council were removed or damaged.
PSNI Foyle say: “Police have recently detected and are in the process of prosecuting people who have damaged/removed or destroyed election posters.
“This could simply be a moment of madness or something more sinister.
“Regardless it is a criminal offence.
“Depending on the circumstances it will be treated as Theft or Criminal Damage.
“The posters are expensive to produce and they are the property of the people or parties standing for election.
“These posters will be put up and removed under the Guidance of The Electoral Commission.
“You will not agree with each and every political party, candidate or policy but we as a society must remember to respect freedom of speech and support the right to a free democratic vote.
“The opportunity to vote is a cornerstone of democracy and a human rights issue.
“Facilitating a fair, peaceful and effective voting process is a primary concern for the police service.
“Therefore we will act on behalf of ALL when enforcing the law when required,” added the police spokesperson.