Norfolk

Norwich political canvassers 'verbally abused'

Karen Davis, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Norwich North
Image caption Karen Davis, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Norwich North, reported two verbal altercations to police

A group of political campaigners are to go out in pairs after one was reportedly told they had "three seconds to get out of here before I hit you".

Karen Davis, Labour's parliamentary candidate for Norwich North, said two of her canvassers were verbally abused while out door-knocking on Sunday.

She said: "People should be able to knock on doors without the fear of violence."

Norfolk Police said officers were investigating two verbal altercations.

Ms Davis said the two volunteers were verbally abused in Sprowston, following Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's visit to the area on Saturday.

She said on one occasion, one of the canvassers was told "if I had a bomb, I would put it under you".

Image caption Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn visited the Norwich North constituency on Saturday

"If you don't want to engage with politicians or volunteers, just politely say 'I'm not interested, thank you' and close the door or put up a 'no canvassing' sign and we won't knock on your door," said Ms Davis.

"I'm going to be asking our canvassers to approach doors in pairs. I wouldn't want to put my canvassers at risk."

Norfolk Police said it received a report at 16:30 BST of two incidents in which there was a verbal altercation at two separate addresses.

The force said one happened on Tiercel Avenue and the other at Parana Court and that inquiries were ongoing.

Image caption Lana Hempsall, a Conservative councillor, said she had a "frightening" experience while out canvassing

Lana Hempsall, a Conservative councillor in the Broadland constituency, said a man "came after me" when she was once out campaigning.

She said: "You expect people to perhaps get cross, have firm opinions, but not to try to physically confront you. It was frightening."

Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, was killed in 2016 after conducting a weekly surgery in her constituency.

The Jo Cox Foundation, set up in her memory, said the "climate has got worse" since Ms Cox's murder and "something needs to be done" from a policing and societal perspective.

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