BOLTON’S response to the census was “very, very good”, according to the man in charge of the operation.

The town’s census area manager, Christopher de Sa, said only two areas, Halliwell and Daubhill, were slow to return completed forms.

Mr de Sa is not allowed to reveal the full extent of returns—this will be announced later this year — but it is understood it will be above 90 per cent in Bolton.

He said: “On the whole, it has been very, very good.

“I have had a very good team in Bolton and agencies like Bolton Council and Bolton Council of Mosques (BCOM) have been brilliant.”

Mr de Sa said BCOM and neighbourhood management teams had been vital in encouraging members of the community to complete their forms.

An army of 250 officials went door to door in the town chasing people who had failed to return their census.

They have now finished their inquiries and the census noncompliance team will now step up efforts to complete the job.

The teamis made up of former police officers and ex-bailiffs and they have the power to speak to people under caution, said Mr de Sa.

He added: “They started on May 4 and are now gathering information about people who have refused to complete the census form.”

Filling out the census is compulsory, with the threat of a fine of up to £1,000 if a questionnaire is not completed and returned.

Legal action will only be taken where people persistently refuse to complete the census.

All census staff will be wearing photo identification badges.

People can call the census helpline on 0300 020 1101.