Belfast Telegraph

Housing offices close after threats

Two Housing Executive offices in Co Down have been forced to close after a member of staff was threatened.

The sub-offices in Ballynahinch and Newcastle will not reopen until a review of security measures is undertaken.

The offices, which open on a limited basis, are staffed by one employee.

A female official was on duty in Ballynahinch when she was subjected to abuse and threats by a member of the public. It is understood the incident came after a number of other reports of abusive behaviour involving other individuals in the premises.

Housing Executive district manager Aidan Brannigan said full risk assessments will be undertaken to ensure staff are safe carrying out their duties.

"It is with regret that we have had to take the decision in delaying reopening the offices in Newcastle and Ballynahinch but abuse of this nature against staff members will not be tolerated," he said.

"Both of these facilities are well used by members of the public seeking advice and assistance on a range of housing issues and are seen as a vital resource to the vast majority of people who visit them.

"However, the actions of a few individuals are putting the future provision of this service at great risk.

"We will be carrying out risk assessments and then a decision will be taken on whether or not to continue with the service.

"I hope that we will soon be in a position to continue to provide these services in Ballynahinch and Newcastle and would therefore ask all members of the public who visit any of our offices to give due respect to staff members who are there to provide assistance and advice to anyone who needs it."

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