Libraries ban more than 50 users

Dozens of people have been banned from libraries across the area
Dozens of people have been banned from libraries across the area

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MORE than 50 people have been banned from libraries in the area for violent and threatening behaviour.

Gosport Discovery Centre proved to have the rowdiest readers, with 14 bans made between 2011 and 2013.

Fareham Library handed down seven bans in the same period, while Leigh Park Library gave six.

The 56 bans were revealed by Hampshire County Council and Portsmouth City Council after a Freedom of Information request from The News.

The city did not break down figures for its nine libraries but said 24 bans were given between 2011/12 and 13/14.

All of the bans in the city were given after ‘physical violence or threatening, aggressive and abusive behaviour’.

Written warnings were given first in all but two cases where there was ‘direct physical violence’.

The bans handed out by Hampshire were all for ‘offensive and confrontational behaviour’.

Councillor Keith Chapman is the executive member for culture at the county council.

In a statement he said libraries have a ‘zero-tolerance policy’ if people are confronted with aggressive, abusive or any other kind of anti-social behaviour.

He added: ‘Members of the public and our staff are entitled to use these public spaces without being subjected to such behaviour. On the rare occasions where we have excluded individuals, their ability to access library facilities is suspended for the length of time that they are. During that period they cannot borrow items or use the internet terminals. Permanent exclusion from our libraries is very rare.’

When Gosport Discovery Centre opened it had a security guard to patrol after complaints about rowdy youths.

But it has not banned anyone from coming in this year or at all last year.

Two bans were made at Hayling Island Library in 2012, with one person told they could only go to Waterlooville Library instead.

One person from Elson Library was banned in 2012 and one from Waterlooville in the same year.

The longest ban was for two years at Gosport Discovery Centre and the shortest was for 10 days at Hayling Island.

Fareham Library made four bans last year and was the only library outside the city to ban anyone.

City library manager Lindy Elliott added: ‘If they’re necessary we don’t hesitate to protect library users and staff.’

No permanent bans were given out.