Hounslow Council is taking people to court for refusing to complete their electoral role forms - and has already fined 17 residents £85.
 
More prosecutions are expected in the next two weeks after the council decided to take against residents who had refused to provide the necessary information to canvassers when they made home visits in October and November last year.

Cllr Mark Bowen, deputy leader of the council, said: “The electoral register is the cornerstone of the relationship between people and those who govern them. For government, in all its forms, to be truly accountable, we need to make sure everyone who can vote is able to.
 
“We made the decision to prosecute this small proportion of residents after repeated requests for the forms to be returned were ignored.
 
“We are obliged to spend money chasing them - money that could be much better spent on other things."
 
The arrangements for delivering and returning electoral registration forms were introduced in 2006. These included home visits by canvassers to help residents who may have had difficulty filling in the form and have produced a greatly improved percentage return. 

The 17 were prosecuted in their absence at Brentford Magistrates Court on Friday and were fined £85 each, with a £15 victim surcharge and £50 costs.