EX-TORY minister and police and crime commissioner hopeful Michael Mates is being probed by police over alleged electoral fraud.
Don Jerrard, a rival candiate for the £85,000-a-year job, has accused Mr Mates, 78, of lying about his address on official forms to become elligible for the new post in Hampshrie and the Isle of Wight.
Mr Jerrard, a former lawyer who is standing for the Justice and Anti-Corruption Party, last month wrote to police to request an investigation into Mr Mates.
Mr Jerrard claims Mr Mates used a flat in Winchester as an address when in fact he lived in West Sussex.
But Mr Mates has said he is the target of a smear campaign, stating: ‘These allegations are completely untrue.’
Eligibility rules for the police and crime commissioner post state candidates must reside in the police force area they wish to stand in.
Thames Valley Police has confirmed it is launching an inquiry.
The force hopes to complete the investigation before voters go to the polls on Thursday to elect 37 police and crime commissioners across England and Wales for the first time.
The inquiry comes after Mr Mates had to respond to questions about his links with businessman Asil Nadir, who was jailed earlier this year for stealing from his own firm after returning to Britain from Northern Cyprus.
Meanwhile fears are growing that the voting turnout for the controversial polls could be as low as 20 per cent.
Newly-elected police and crime commissioners will take office on November 22.
They will replace police authorities, which currently hold the purse strings for policing.
Police and crime commissioners will hold police to account on behalf of the public, hold their chief constable to account for their force’s performance and provide a local link between the police and communities.
The police and crime commissioner will receive all police-related funding and be responsible for how it is spent after consulting the chief constable. Duties include setting a Police and Crime Plan and council tax precept.
Mr Mates is nominated to stand for election alongside Mr Jerrard, Labour candidate Jacqui Rayment and Lib Dem, David Goodall.
UK Independence (UKIP) party candiate Stephen West and Independent Simon Hayes are also up for election for the job in Hampshire.