A SCHOOLBOY has been given a warning by police after allegedly harassing a Barnet councillor with a series of late night phone calls.
The 15-year-old, who we cannot name for legal reasons, is said to have bombarded Hendon ward councillor Matthew Offord and the Barnet Conservative office with political enquiries and requests for a meeting until as late as 10pm.
The events lead to the year ten pupil receiving a call from the police and a formal letter being sent to him outlining the allegation of harassment. It stated a complaint had been made because he had been “ringing the victim on numerous occasions at his home address without good reason”.
On one occasion it was suggested he attended one of Mr Offord's surgeries at Hendon Library, in The Burroughs, but the calls are said to have continued and a decision was taken to have him removed by security when he did arrive for the evening discussion session.
Mr Offord, who is not the ward councillor of the Burnt Oak teenager, claims he would not have been able to talk about issues non-specific to Hendon, and could not comment on his position or aims as Conservative parliamentary candidate for the Hendon constituency while in his council capacity.
The boy though claims he was entitled to contact the councillor and was not aggressive or offensive, and had only contacted his home because the number was readily available on the internet.
“I have done nothing wrong and I had every right to phone him,” said the teen, who has a passion for politics and has worked as an assistant in the Labour office of Hendon MP Andrew Dismore.
“I just wanted to ask him about council issues and youth facilities, but it is bad that he doesn't want to work with children.
“I was shocked when I got the call from the police. I understand they have a job to do and I don't blame them, but I don't know why they were made to call.”
Mr Offord became concerned about the behaviour and contacted the police after he claims he began constantly receiving calls to his home after 9pm, some which were silent and others which were ended abruptly.
Barnet Police then issued the letter confirming an allegation of harassment had been made against the GCSE student, and outlined that the offence could be a criminal matter under the protection from harassment act 1997.
The letter explained it is not a comment as to the truth or otherwise of the allegations, but that the information had been sent out “in the spirit of crime prevention”. It warned however that any further acts that may amount to harassment may make him liable to arrest.
Mr Offord said: “I am concerned about him because he could end up with a criminal record.
“As a councillor I am used to dealing with difficult people, it goes with the territory. But if people do step over a line to the extent where the police become involved I will not hesitate to secure the safety of my family as in this situation.
“I feel in politics you do need to give people aspirations when they are young, but with him it has gone the wrong way. It is a stupid situation but someone may end up getting in trouble.”