July 29 2014 Latest news:

Local Weather

Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 26°C

min temp: 13°C

Five-day forecast

Revealed: The ‘Personal Safety Guide’ for when Camden’s councillors decide to meet the public

The Personal Safety Guide for councillors The Personal Safety Guide for councillors

Friday, July 18, 2014
11:00 AM

Britain’s most dangerous profession these days has become a toss-up between being a builder, a fisherman and – surprisingly – a farmer.

To send a link to this page to a friend, you must be logged in.

But after coming across the “Personal Safety Guide” given to the intake of new councillors this year, you’d have thought being the political face of Camden Council was just as dicey.

The four-page document is full of advice for councillors about meeting their constituents face-to-face.

Councillors must “sit nearest to the door”, lay out seating at “45 degree angles [to avoid] appearing confrontational”, “make sure there are no heavy items in the room that could be used as weapons” and “get a space which has a swift means of escape”.

Quick getaways apparently never being far from the mind of a councillor, they’re even told “to have your keys in your hand [and] park facing the way you want to drive off”.

“Abusive phone calls”, “malicious anonymous letters” and “unwanted callers at private homes” – all are apparently real risks the Camden electorate now pose to their political representatives.

But is this as over-the-top and insulting as it all sounds?

A quick search on the internet suggests that a councillor is just as likely to assault a constituent as to be the victim of assault.

But the Ham&High was also rightly reminded why the guide came about in the first place.

In 2000, a constituent armed with a samurai sword walked into his local MP’s constituency office in Cheltenham and launched a brutal attack.

It left one local councillor dead and the MP – now Lord Nigel Jones – seriously injured.

Cllr Theo Blackwell, who has braved his own surgeries for 12 years, told the Ham&High: “I became a councillor not long after the sword attack and it was quite a live issue at the time.

“I’ve not had a problem in any of the surgeries I’ve attended but we do need to make sure the new councillors know the proper safety precautions.”

He added: “Something that does make some councillors a bit uncomfortable is having to make public their home addresses.

“I still don’t know why we can’t just put the address of our surgeries.”

Share this article

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead and Highgate Express visitors.


We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead and Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Forgotten your password?


Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead and Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

   Local advertisers

More news

Click here to read the Digital Edition of the Ham&High on screen
Use our Wedding site to help you plan your big day!
At WeddingSite we know how much you have to organise for your wedding day, that's why we have designed a set of FREE, simple-to-use tools to make the planning process easy & hassle-free. FIND OUT MORE
Find a date using our online dating and friend finder
You can meet new friends, find romance or simply meet up online with people sharing similar interests and hobbies. FIND OUT MORE
Find a local business using our online directory search
Need a plumber? Or a florist? Or anything else? Search our business directory to find Hampstead businesses in just a few seconds. FIND OUT MORE
Family notices from the Ham&High, with readers' tributes
In memoriam, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, best wishes & special days. FIND OUT MORE