Police have warned the public that knowingly making or publishing false statements in relation to the personal character or conduct of any election candidates is a criminal offence that will be treated appropriately.
They’ve made the warning as candidates prepare for next month’s County Council election.
Under the Representation of the People Act 1983 a person may be liable to a fine of up to £5,000 if they are found to have made a false statement.
The added that this includes comments on social media. In addition private libel action could be considered by the candidate against those who make or publish such comments.
Anyone who has an administrative responsibility for social groups, information providers or the like, could also be liable for the actions of people who post comments, if they are not suitably monitored and if necessary the comments removed.
In 2011 the Electoral Commission for the UK recorded 45 allegations of people making false statements about candidates.
Detective Sergeant Ian Jarman of the Economic Crime Unit of Lincolnshire Police said: “While it may be seen as a minor issue, I believe that voters would expect that the election process is carried out correctly, and that all those involved in the elections would carry out their campaign with integrity.”