Violence on the rise in UK LIBRARIES as shocking figures lay bare UK ‘centres of chaos’


Former police officer Neil Wood said he was attacked more in the library where he worked than in force as “people flock to libraries after being barred from public areas”.

UK libraries are hotspots of violence

This is the last place you expect to be threatened or beaten.

But violence is on the rise in British libraries. Shocking figures show they have been the scene of nearly 6,000 serious incidents of anti-social behavior in five years.

And librarians are prime targets where a soft “shh” was closest to a confrontation.

An ex-policeman who spent five years working in a library in the North East told us: “I was assaulted more times there than in my 25 years in the police. And Neil Wood, 66, once attacked with a screwdriver, added: “Libraries are hubs of chaos. These people go there because they are banned from all pubs, most shops and public transport.

Isobel Hunter, from the national charity Libraries Connected, blamed the trend on “people’s inability to access medical and support services” and “the cost of living crisis”. She called on councils “to keep libraries safe”.

Isobel Hunter says people can’t access the services they need

In some areas, they are used as a contact point for social services, which would have increased the risk of disruption.

Our numbers come from an Access to Information request sent to 154 councils. Nick Poole, head of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, said he was “deeply concerned” by the numbers.

“Public libraries are increasingly acting as frontline first responders for people with complex needs,” he said. “We celebrate that public libraries are seen as safe and trusted spaces, but any form of aggression is never acceptable.” The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport declined to comment.

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