Tyne & Wear

Durham County Council adds £49k security after threats

County Hall Image copyright Google
Image caption Durham County Council wants to leave County Hall and move to a new site

A council has spent £49,000 on new security after a spate of cases of staff being threatened and intimidated.

One incident saw a member of the public climb over a helpdesk to confront workers, Durham County Council said.

The new security doors have been fitted at County Hall in Durham despite the council progressing with plans to demolish the building and move to new offices.

Members of the public are still welcome to attend meetings, the council said.

But where previously they were able to enter the council chamber and other meeting rooms freely, they must now sign in and be escorted by a member of staff.

John Hewitt, Durham County Council's corporate director of resources, said: "It was essential that we improved security arrangements for officers and members, especially as concerns had been raised about security in and around the council chamber, committee rooms and helpdesk at County Hall.

"We have worked hard to ensure the preferred option will be fit for purpose while keeping costs to a minimum."

He added the public was still entitled to access public meetings in the building "as before".

The council has submitted a planning application seeking to build a new headquarters at The Sands in Durham City.

County Hall, which was built in 1963, would be demolished.

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