Councillors agree new personal safety protocol

Councillors at Bridgend County Borough Council have agreed a new personal safety protocol following reports of abuse, threats, and intimidation towards elected members.

The protocol, which was approved at full Council, provides a risk assessment and guidance for councillors in relation to the various activities they undertake whilst serving local communities across the county brough.

As well as advice about lone working, social media guidance is also included and focuses on the importance of online safety and dealing with social media posts of a negative nature.

South Wales Police have also provided briefing sessions and have advised councillors to report any concerns directly to them.

The council’s group leaders recently issued a joint statement condemning the abuse of councillors. The statement highlighted a shared determination to put an end to the unacceptable actions of a minority.

Cllr Huw David (Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council and the Labour group), Cllr Amanda Williams (Leader of Bridgend County Independents) and Cllr Ross Penhale-Thomas (Leader of the Democratic Alliance group), said: “There is a fundamental difference between healthy democratic debate and abuse and intimidation. Regardless of political views, all members have the right to be safe and feel safe when holding public surgeries and communicating with residents both in person and online.

“We would encourage all members to take on board the advice mentioned in the protocol as we continue to make a stand against this unacceptable behaviour. Those responsible should understand that their actions will have negative consequences not just for councillors but for local communities who require our support.”