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Police complaint proposed over Downham town council row

Police are to be asked to investigate the conduct of a Downham town councillor, following a reported “altercation” during a committee meeting last week.

A full council session on Tuesday heard the member, who was not named, had to be removed from a finance committee debate a week earlier because of his conduct

The meeting heard the councillor had repeatedly accused a staff member of lying and refused to desist.

Downham Market Town Hall. (42189327)
Downham Market Town Hall. (42189327)

The committee’s chairman, Alan Pickering, told colleagues he had asked the councillor to apologise, but none was forthcoming.

He said: “It (removing a councillor from a meeting) hasn’t happened before and I hope it doesn’t happen again.”

Elizabeth Hendry called for the council itself to make a complaint to police about the member’s behaviour, a proposal which was passed.

And Jackie Westrop said she was only surprised a similar incident had not occurred earlier.

She said: “Those comments did not come out of the blue. They were part of a pattern of behaviour that has gone on for some considerable time.

“We have given this councillor a lot of latitude that we would not have given an employee.”

But Frank Daymond pointed out that the meeting could have been suspended in an effort to restore order.

Earlier in the meeting, town mayor Becky Hayes said she had received assurances from West Norfolk Council’s monitoring officer that all of the authority’s members are in office legitimately, despite questions being raised both internally and on social media.

Two councillors resigned in January over social media abuse relating to the conduct of the town’s market.

And Mrs Hayes urged one member, Doug Lawson, to stop making such comments and excluding certain councillors from emails, claiming that he was in breach of the council’s code of conduct in doing so.

Mr Lawson was not present during the meeting.

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