Thousands of people involved in disagreements with council staff have had their personal details stored on secret blacklists.
Bureaucrats have listed the details of members of the public who have been involved in rows with teachers or dustmen over seemingly trivial matters. Scores of councils hold databases of ‘undesirables’ – individuals who could potentially pose a threat to their staff.
They hold the details of almost 9,000 people, but most have never been charged with or convicted of a crime. Personal information such as car registration numbers, telephone numbers, household pets, nicknames and distinguishing features are listed on the databases.
When she spotted a drunk trampling flowers in a park, Jane Clift saw it as her public duty to report him. But her efforts led to a nightmare in which she was branded potentially violent and put on a council blacklist with thugs and sex attackers.
Her details were circulated to public and private bodies, including doctors’, dentists’, opticians’, libraries, contraceptive clinics, schools and nurseries. Their staff were advised not to see her alone. The 44-year-old former care worker was forced to withdraw an application to become a foster parent and to leave the town where she had lived for ten years.