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Security and Search (Polling stations)

  • Prior to opening the premises to the public, arrange for a responsible person with local knowledge of the premises to assist you conducting a search to identify anything out of place or suspicious.
  • All staff should be familiar with the layout of the location and its immediate surroundings. 
  • Following the search, ensure the building is secure and supervised until officially opened for polling. During this period no unauthorised person should be permitted entry.
  • Check the perimeter of the premises, particular attention should be given to nearby shrubbery, outbuildings and other areas to which the public have access.
  • If a vehicle is parked in the proximity of a polling station and arouses any suspicions, the incident must be reported to the police. Note the location and vehicle registration number and do not approach the vehicle.
  • Draw up a schedule for further searches to be carried out at frequent but irregular intervals throughout the day.


Ballot box

Access (Polling stations)

Access and egress should be restricted to the minimum number of doorways as possible. As far as fire regulations permit, all other entrances including windows of unoccupied rooms should be secured to prevent any unauthorised entry.

  • All staff acting in an official capacity should have access to this document in advance of the polling day. A printed copy should be accessible at the site to staff engaged in the process.
  • Familiarisation of the site, for all staff involved, is vital to identify key areas and all potential emergency exit points.
  • Check vulnerable spaces, for example cupboards, and unoccupied rooms, on the access/egress route. Have they been searched? Can they be secured?
  • The law specifically provides for certain persons to be present in the Polling Stations (in addition to staff and voters.) Ensure you are aware of who is present, and for what reason. Be prepared to challenge suspicious activity. 
  • Wherever possible, obtain the details of those persons, other than staff and voters, present within the Polling Stations.
  • Check that delivery of goods, the carrying out of maintenance work and other ancillary functions at the premises have been suspended. If this is unavoidable, the Returning Officers should be given prior notification.
  • Compile a list of contact numbers for those normally responsible for the premises to cater for incidents which may occur on the premises.
  • It is recommended that staff and election officials wear identification passes.
  • Adopt a challenge culture to unauthorised people in restricted areas.


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Polling Stations
public spaces