A COUNCIL has produced an updated personal safety guide for elected members in the wake of David Amess MPs murder.

It advises them to vary their routine and record and report any incidents of intimidation or threats.

Councillors are also advised to follow their 'gut feeling' if they feel unsafe.

Blackburn with Darwen Council's new guide to 'Personal Safety for Elected Members' will be discussed by its standards committee on Wednesday.

The guide says: "Our personal safety is something many of us take for granted, and it is only when a major incident occurs that we stop and think about our own vulnerability.

"The murder of MP Sir David Amess will have caused even the most confident amongst us to take a step back to reflect on the way that we manage any risks associated with our role.

"There are no statistics to prove that public figures are at more risk than anybody else who is involved in carrying out a front-facing role.

"Whilst most of the aggression councillors experience will usually sit at the ‘low to modest’ spectrum of unacceptable behaviour, severe abuse can tip into the legal definition of violence.

"No risk assessment can replace using our own senses to determine what feels safe, versus what feels wrong. This is often referred to as ‘gut feel’.

"Unfortunately, as adults we often silence our gut feeling in an attempt to intellectualise it. In personal safety terms, gut feel is one of the most important tools we have.

"Remove yourself immediately from the situation if you feel unsafe, analyse later but your immediate safety is the priority.

"Routine is often described as the enemy of personal safety because it makes our behaviour predictable and reliable.

"Whilst reliability is often a prized characteristic, in safety terms it can make us vulnerable.

"Whilst it isn’t always possible or practical to vary patterns a huge amount, when you are able to do so change your routine so that you vary the time and places you do things.

"Councillors are encouraged to keep a record of any intimidatory communication or behaviour

"Contact with unknown or anonymous individuals should be undertaken with care.

"If a serious potential crime has occurred, it is advisable to formally report it to the council and/or to the police."