Councillors to Get Safety Training; Move Follows Fatal Incident in MP's Surgery

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL BARRY

COUNCILLORS in Coventry are to get personal safety training in the aftermath of an alleged samurai sword attack in which a councillor died.

Cllr Andrew Pennington, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Gloucestershire County Council, died in January at the office of Cheltenham MP Nigel Jones.

A court has heard that Cllr Pennington was stabbed 11 times while trying to defend Mr Jones from a frustrated constituent who produced the sword at a surgery meeting.

Coventry City Council is now set to send its councillors on a personal safety training course because of fears they could be attacked by angry citizens.

The council already has a list of "potentially violent people" which its staff can consult - and wants to give councillors access to that information as well.

The health and safety committee, which meets tomorrow, has been recommended to give councillors a half-day training session in January - the same month that a man will stand trial accused of murdering Cllr Pennington.

The sessions will not involve physical contact but aim to help councillors talk their way out of tricky situations.

A system for recording violence against councillors also looks likely to be set up and councillors would get training in how to deal with difficult people. …