Council bans 343 from public buildings for offences including ‘threats to kill’ and ‘violent abuse’
Hundreds of people have been banned from council-run libraries and leisure centres in Leeds since 2015.
A total of 343 people have been banned from council-run public buildings since March 2015 for such offences as violence, threats to kill and racial abuse.
Leeds City Council claims it works with the banned customers to ensure they are still able to access council services.
The figures, obtained using a Freedom of Information request, show that, of those receiving bans, a total of 316 individuals were banned from all public-facing buildings run by Leeds City Council over the last four-and-a-half years.
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A total of 34 bans were handed out during the 2015/16 financial year; 106 in 16/17; 109 in 17/18; 63 in 18/19 and 31 so far in 19/20.
The reasons for the bans were not broken down by type of offence but the response added: “We are however able to give you a general breakdown of the reasons why people were banned.”
It then listed: “Verbal abuse; violent acts; threats of violence; threats to kill; racial abuse.”
According to Leeds City Council guidance, when a case of inappropriate behaviour takes place in a building managed by the authority, the staff involved in that incident or witness to it will complete an incident reporting form.
Within that form, the service may propose a ban, its length and which buildings it should include.
The council’s legal service then considers the seriousness of the incident and what would legally be a proportionate response, a response which protects the individual’s ability to access council services and one which protects staff and customers from harassment, alarm, distress or harm.
Guidance from the authority added: “Except in extraordinary circumstances, we always seek to ensure that where a customer is banned, that we are satisfied there are still alternative ways for them to access council services.
“This is assessed on a case-by-case basis based on the customer’s need and also our need to take measures required to protect staff and customers.”
A spokesperson for Leeds City Council said: “The decision to apply a ban is only taken after careful assessment and consideration.
“These decisions are mainly taken when incidents of verbal abuse, violent acts, threats of violence, threats to kill or racial abuse have occurred.
“Anyone accessing public buildings is expected to behave in a civil and respectful manner at all times, with a decision to apply a ban being taken in order to protect staff and other customers.
“Wherever possible, the council will work with any banned customer to ensure they can continue to access council services in alternative ways. The number of people banned from council-managed leisure centres and libraries is showing a reduction in the last two years.”