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Children on council 'threat' lists
Toddlers and centenarians are among the thousands of people deemed "threatening" enough to have their personal details stored on secret council databases, an investigation has found.
Authorities are keeping files alerting staff to potential risks their clients may pose, according to details obtained by the Press Association.
So-called "cautionary contacts lists" (CCL) include notes between colleagues warning about people who present a "risk" - including those threatening physical or sexual aggression, residents with dangerous dogs, and some with criminal records.
But they also feature a seven-year-old girl highlighted for "verbal abuse", a 91-year-old man previously demonstrating threatening behaviour, and a man who "pulls faces", as well as records on several others deemed a risk - though not yet old enough to attend school. They are among scores of Britons at either end of the age spectrum included on council lists.
It comes after a barber in Cornwall said he was placed on his council's CCL for using a megaphone to warn motorists of traffic wardens.
Andy Blackwell, from Liskeard, was issued with a letter from his local authority in January after his alerts were said to have been a threat to traffic wardens' "health and safety". Cornwall Council said the CCL was "an internal system which aims to protect council staff from potentially harmful situations".
In some instances, files have been kept for decades - occasionally dating back to when clients were small children. Others are kept without notifying clients about their inclusion on the list.
A Local Government Association spokesman said: "Recording instances where staff have been subject to unacceptable behaviour - including physical assaults, threats of violence, intimidation with dangerous dogs and even inappropriate sexual behaviour - is an important part of ensuring our employees can go about their daily work without fear or harassment and the public is protected when we are aware of a risk.
"However, councils recognise there needs to be a common-sense approach to how they make staff aware of any perceived risks and any information will be routinely reviewed to ensure it is proportionate."
Councils were asked to provide details of their internal systems or registers for the past two and a half years. This included council house tenants, social services customers and other members of the public who had previously come into contact with officials. Just over half of the 150 authorities contacted by the Press Association said they kept a CCL or similar, while three - Durham, Surrey and Tower Hamlets - refused to disclose the information.