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Centenarians and children 'potential threat' to council staff

Halifax town hall
Halifax town hall

Centenarians and children are among tens of thousands of people whose details are stored on internal council databases due to their deemed potential threat to staff, an investigation has found.

Authorities across England identified more than 25,000 service users whose details are flagged on registers sometimes referred to as cautionary contacts lists (CCL), to warn staff of a potential risk to their safety.

In some cases, authorities highlighted residents’ criminal records, history of violence against women, religious fundamentalism and aggressive behaviour towards employees as a reason for their addition to the lists.

They include a man who keeps a “samurai sword over his front door”, another armed with “a machete, catapult and axe” at their home, and one man who attempted to knock down two council workers with his van.

And an eight-year-old from Leeds was identified “where verbal/visual or social media abuse was directed personally at an individual”. Authorities said concerns within the home sometimes resulted in children being included on the list.

Others identified dangerous pets and safety hazards within the client’s home, as well as examples of racist and homophobic behaviour - including a woman who expressed anti-Muslim views and wanted to choose the ethnicity of the staff member she dealt with.

Some councils identified registered sex offenders on their list, while one council added a client to their database for accessing extremist websites.

The data was obtained by the Press Association from 76 authorities with details through Freedom of Information laws.

A Local Government Association spokesman said: “Councils have a duty of care to their employees to ensure they are safe and aware of risks when carrying out their work.

“Local authorities keep cautionary contacts lists purely to protect staff who are in regular contact with local residents and businesses.

“Councils take their responsibilities under data protection law very seriously and, despite limited resources, are investing in robust systems to further safeguard confidential information prior to the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation in May 2018.”

The youngest on lists were babies, included due to social service concerns within the home.

North Yorkshire featured six children under ten and four aged 100 and over, with 608 in total. The breakdown saw 80 men on the list compared with 34 women, where a record was made, with 238 marked “do not visit / alone”. Some 285 were marked for violence, with 18 animal-related.

Five disclosure notices at Bradford council were registered sex offenders, while eight were “risk to children/public”.

Calderdale Council recorded 52 incidents, including eight ASBOs.Kirklees Council recorded 157 in the year to September 2017.