North Herts joins #EnoughisEnough campaign to combat abuse directed at council staff

The leader of North Herts Council said that abuse directed at council staff is "absolutely unacceptable"

The leader of North Herts Council, Cllr Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg, said that abuse directed at council staff is "absolutely unacceptable", adding that direct threats will be reported to the police - Credit: North Herts Council

The leader of North Herts Council has called the treatment of public representatives "absolutely unacceptable" following the resignation of democratic representatives elsewhere in the country.

The leader and deputy leader at Maldon District Council in Essex have resigned due to abuse their councillors and staff have been subjected to, with police officers being called to a recent council meeting due to claims of disruptive behaviour.

In response, the #EnoughisEnough campaign has been launched, reaching out to local authorities and blue light services to further enforce a zero tolerance to hate crime at work and in the community.

Cllr Elizabeth Dennis-Harburg, leader of North Herts Council, said: “We are in full support of this campaign by Maldon District Council and have zero tolerance towards hate crime.

“Councillors and council staff provide essential services for our local area and yet at times they have become a target for frustrations. No one should have to tolerate abuse while simply doing their job.

“We know that the vast majority of people are respectful and understand how hard our councillors and staff work. However, there are a small proportion who take their anger out by shouting on the phone, in the street or leaving abusive comments on social media.

"Just this weekend, we had to remove abusive comments on our social media channels directed at our grounds contractor, John O' Connor, as well as threatening comments towards councillors in the context of remembrance events running in the area.

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"This is absolutely unacceptable and direct threats will be reported to the police.”

This isn't the first time the leader has spoken out about abuse aimed at councillors and MPs. Cllr Dennis-Harburg said that the killing of Sir David Amess MP was "an attack on every single person who is involved in democracy" when he was stabbed to death at a constituency surgery last month.

Stevenage Borough Council leader, Cllr Sharon Taylor, also spoke out after she was harassed at her home in May this year. The perpetrator subjected to 100 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay almost £1,000 in fines.

Similarly, Central Bedfordshire Council leader and Arlesey councillor Richard Wenham stated that social media has “allowed a huge assault on civility in public life” and that it is “helpful, but also a curse”.

He added that a “vicious barracking” has led to a handful of “physical attacks on councillors and their property”.

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