Almost 200 reports were made to police over parliamentary candidate safety in less than three weeks during the General Election campaign.

Around half of the 198 reports made between November 15 and December 4 were serious enough to be treated as crimes, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) told the PA news agency.

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Most of the incidents were allegations of malicious communications online.

There were also reports of criminal damage and harassment.

Two SNP constituency offices have been targeted in vandalism campaigns during the election cycle.

Three were reports of assaults against campaign volunteers but none against parliamentary hopefuls and the incidents were not thought to be serious.

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A third of reports came from campaign volunteers and staff, with the remainder coming from candidates themselves, the NPCC said.

The body said it had not seen trends of abuse being directed against any one particular party.