Racism, threats and adult content among reasons why people banned from Sunderland libraries

Racism, threatening staff and viewing '˜adult' content are among the reasons for banning members of the public from council premises.

Monday, 31st December 2018, 10:08 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 2:32 am
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At least seven people have been barred from using libraries and customer service centres in Sunderland since 2013.

And of those, four have not been told when they can expect their bans to be lifted.

In one instance, council staff wrote to a person who they claimed had broken three separate library by-laws at Sunderland City Library, in Fawcett Street last year (2017).

The letter said staff had been ‘verbally abused’ and ‘threatened’ and that bosses would only consider allowing the person back on to council property if they promised in writing to ‘not repeat the behaviour complained of’.

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According to information provided by Sunderland City Council under Freedom of Information rules, this ban was still ongoing in October.

Although the person was also told they allowed in for pre-arranged appointments.

In a separate incident, someone had their library ticket suspended for three months this year (2018) after using computers at Washington Town Centre Library to view ‘adult, explicit, inappropriate content’.

Two other individuals were also barred from using library services this year after being heard making ‘extremely severe racist remarks’.

And between 2015 – 2017 a further three people were told staff at the council’s customer service centres would no longer deal with them directly following allegations of inappropriate, threatening or intimidating behaviour.

In one instance this followed advice from Northumbria Police.

A spokesman for Sunderland City Council said: “The vast majority of people visiting the council show great respect for the staff, other members of the public, and all the facilities.

“Exclusions and bans are generally a last resort when an individual is behaving in a way that is unacceptable and possibly even dangerous for staff or other visitors.”

 

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service