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No investigation into Downham council 'malicious' question claims - Norfolk Police

Police say they are not investigating accusations of “malicious” questioning which were made against a Downham town councillor during a meeting last month.

The claim was made against Doug Lawson over issues he sought to raise during the annual town meeting two weeks ago.

But Norfolk Police has now confirmed it is not examining the matter, although it is believed that officers have spoken to councillors about the authority’s problems.

Downham Market Town Hall. (45992042)
Downham Market Town Hall. (45992042)

In a statement, a force spokesman said: “There are no police investigations ongoing at this time.”

Asked whether a complaint had been made, she said nothing had been reported “formally”.

However, the Lynn News understands there has been contact between members and officers since the annual town meeting on April 21.

The affair is the latest flashpoint to have dogged the council, whose members will meet remotely this evening to choose a new mayor for the year ahead, in recent months.

The resignation of two councillors, who faced social media abuse amid continuing rows over the town’s market, was confirmed in January.

There were also calls for a police probe following an altercation at a finance meeting in late February, while by-elections to fill several vacant seats on the council are taking place this Thursday.

Mr Lawson made allegations of wrongdoing against a senior councillor and staff member, as well calling for an independent inquiry in his questions to the town meeting, which the Lynn News has seen.

The questions were not posed during the session and the town’s current mayor, Becky Hayes, said the matter would be reported to the police as a potential malicious communication.

She said they contained false information and were intended to cause anxiety.

But Mr Lawson insists he has both evidence and witness statements to support what he described as the “correct and honest” allegations made in his questions.

Tonight’s annual town council meeting takes place over Zoom and is scheduled to start at 7pm. The session is also due to be streamed live via YouTube.

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