Online criticism for probation meetings held in Weston Town Hall library

PUBLISHED: 13:00 21 November 2017

Weston Town Hall.

Weston Town Hall.

Archant

Criminals' probation meeting are being held in public at Weston-super-Mare Town Hall, it has been revealed, prompting a health and safety review.

Concerns have been raised over the arrangement, which can see rehabilitating offenders talking about personal matters in the company of library goers.

A number of services are run from the same building in Walliscote Grove Road, including the library, the council’s housing team and a police desk.

And a probation company relocated its programme to the town hall just over a year ago, but due to a lack of meeting rooms, offenders sometimes are interviewed alongside library users.

One probation officer interviewed by the Guardian newspaper said the situation was putting the public at risk, and was also denying offenders a proper chance to engage in the rehabilitation programme, but the review found the probe did not reveal security breaches.

A spokesman for North Somerset Council said the company is looking at alternative locations to see some of its service users in.

Many people took to social media to share their view.

Carol Ann Scott wrote: “Surely things like this should be dealt with in a private room. These people don’t want everyone listening to their consultations.”

Paula Draper commented: “I think this is irresponsible by the council, to mingle criminals knowing kids are in the same room, plus surely they don’t want their dirty laundry aired in public.

“Another part of the building with a different entrance would be better, or wasn’t there a probation service on the Boulevard?”

Soner Djemal said: “So not a safe environment to bring children into the library. Well done North Somerset. I shall not be using the library with them.”

Gareth Saunders commented: “Isn’t there an old-but-empty building at the top of the Boulevard that would make a perfect library?”

Tommy Malone wrote: “So these people are not safe to use a library but they are safe for the streets? Seems like a lot of people don’t know what they are talking about. What a shock.”

To join the discussion, visit www.facebook.com/wsmercury or www.twitter.com/wsmercury

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