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Group leaders unite to tackle abuse of councillors

The leaders of all political groups at Bridgend County Borough Council have joined forces to make a stand against abuse, threats, and intimidation towards elected members. 

There has been an increase in reports of abuse in recent months and the council’s political group leaders have now issued a joint statement to make it clear that a zero-tolerance approach will be taken and that all such instances will be reported to South Wales Police. 

The joint message below has been endorsed by 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. 

The statement reads:

“Regardless of what our varied political views may be, all councillors have the right to feel safe while representing the communities that we are elected to serve. 

“We always try our best to do what’s right for the local community but there is a fine line between healthy democratic debate and abuse and intimidation. 

“Unfortunately, a small minority of people appear to believe that they are entitled to abuse and intimidate councillors, this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated, and South Wales Police will be informed immediately. 

“We all have the right to feel safe when holding public surgeries and communicating with residents both in person and online and those responsible should understand that their actions will have negative consequences not just for councillors but for local communities who require our support.  

“The support of Democratic Services staff is much appreciated, and they are always available to advise any members who unfortunately experience abuse.

“It is worth reiterating that the vast majority of residents are a pleasure to deal with, but we are determined to put an end to the unacceptable actions of a minority.”

A guide on how to best deal with intimidation and abuse is available for all members on the Welsh Local Government Association’s website.

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