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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Police called in as council staff abused

PHYSICAL and verbal abuse towards Copeland Council staff is to be investigated by the police.

By Andrew Clarke and Julie Morgan

Over the past six months there has been an increase in face-to-face abuse and threats towards frontline council staff, many of them women. One Copeland employee was also abused online on a social media site.

Council leader Elaine Woodburn said: “As councillors, we expect feedback and criticism – some of which has been deeply personal – and we have bore the brunt of it over recent months. But we do not accept it when people cross the line and attack our employees.

“People think they can hide behind their computer and say what they want; they say things they wouldn’t say to your face.”

Coun Woodburn said she believed there was a link between the online abuse and the aggressive behaviour shown towards council employees.

Staff, she said, had been threatened with violence and were “shouted and screamed at’’ by members of the public.

“Our staff deliver an excellent service and we will do everything to protect them. They are working extremely hard in difficult circumstances,’’ Coun Woodburn added.

A meeting between the council and police to review the evidence took place yesterday (Weds).

Councillors discussed the online abuse at a meeting of the council’s Executive on Monday. Copeland’s chief executive, Paul Walker, said: “This is a wholly inappropriate attack, with cruel comments made directly about a member of council staff.”

Allan Holliday, deputy council leader, said: “The council has the support of the full Executive in taking this action. It’s the action of a coward, someone who thinks they can attack without reprisals.”

A police spokesperson said: “Police are currently investigating a number of allegations received from Copeland Council regarding members of staff and councillors being the subject of both verbal and physical abuse whilst carrying out their work for the council.

“Some of these allegations involve abuse using social media. We are in the progress of conducting a number of investigations into these allegations and are in contact with the victims on a regular basis.”

Anyone who believes they have been abused on social media can contact the police on 101. They can also visit www.cumbria.police.uk/onlinesafety

Have your say

The name it and shame it site is awful. Lots of criticism of the council for things they have absolutely no control over by people who are almost totally illiterate. I made a comment on it that was 60% defending the council and I was immediately banned! The admin are like a communist state preventing any views being aired unless they are attacking the council.

Posted by Aman on 19 May 2014 at 08:02

Hold On!!!
Will the council be now properly investigate the case of Amy Jones? Or is it one rule for us and another for them?????

Posted by ted on 18 May 2014 at 20:38

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