Vexatious, persistent and abusive behaviour policy


We define unreasonably persistent and vexatious contact as those that, because of the frequency or nature of a customer’s contact with our officers, hinders our consideration of their (or other people’s) requests or complaints. The description ‘unreasonably persistent’ and ‘vexatious’ may apply separately or jointly to a particular complaint.

We have adopted the Local Government Ombudsman’s (LGO) definition of “unreasonable complainant behaviour” and “unreasonable persistent complaints”. We will however, apply our the policy to any contact which is considered to be vexatious or persistent, even if it does not meet our definition of being a complaint.

We will treat any behaviour that seeks to harass, verbally abuse or otherwise intimidate our officers as abusive. This can include the use of foul or inappropriate language, verbal threats or the use of offensive and hateful language (such as that which is racist, homophobic or refers to another personal or protected characteristic). Such behaviour may also be dealt with through our Staff Protection Policy.

Abusive behaviour may be demonstrated through:

  • Using threatening, offensive or foul language on the telephone.
  • Using threatening, offensive or foul language face to face.
  • Sending threatening or offensive emails.
  • Leaving threatening or offensive voicemails.
  • The use of offensive or threatening posts on social networks.
  • Using passive aggressive communications.
  • Using any form of communication that is considered intimidating.

Any actual or perceived threat of violence, or actual violence, will also be addressed under the council’s Staff Protection Policy, and will be reported to the Police.