THE issuing of safety advice to council officials who could face hostile or aggressive customers has been welcomed by Hyndburn councillors.

Incidents of violence against council employees have been on the increase across the country, the personnel and general purposes committee was told.

training and personnel officer Ellen Miller, said: "There have been some very distressing incidents publicised nationally and in local government journals."

Hyndburn has drawn up its guidelines in response to local concern about situations staff may have to face during the course of their duties. Mrs Miller said: "We are making the unlikely incidents of violence even more unlikely."

Many of the ideas contained in the personal safety guidelines have come from the staff themselves.

Councillor Sheelagh Delaney said: "If people are visiting a house as an individual, it doesn't take much to get caught out."

Mrs Miller said: "The feedback from staff is that they go into situations in good faith and all of a sudden it's too late.

"The fallout from unpleasant incidents can be major for the member of staff, colleagues, and the whole council," she added.

Committee chairman Councillor Jack Grime, said: "It's a very courageous report and is certainly a positive response to all our staff and their safety.

"I hope people will be more courteous to others instead of just thinking of self every time," he added.

The advice on how to avoid and cope with difficult situations will be linked to ongoing staff training.

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