Devon County Council’s party leaders have united to deliver a message of zero tolerance to threatening, intimidating and disrespectful behaviour at County Hall.

Conservative leader John Hart, Liberal Democrat Alan Connett, Labour’s Rob Hannaford and Independent group leader Frank Biederman released the joint statement in the wake of Thursday’s public censure of Barnstaple North councillor Brian Greenslade.

The council’s cross-party standards committee found Cllr Greenslade guilty of a serious breach of its code of conduct, alleging sexual harassment and abuse carried out against a number of female employees over a sustained period of time.

In the leaders’ joint statement, they said councillors had a duty to ensure their own personal behaviour was ‘exemplary’, and that they would not tolerate threatening or disrespectful behaviour.

It said: “We must ensure that our staff enjoy a safe and welcoming environment.

“They work hard to provide vital services for the people of Devon and we firmly believe that they are fully entitled to go about their business in an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.

“We will not tolerate any actions that leave them feeling threatened, fearful or intimidated, or to be treated with disrespect.

“As councillors and political leaders, we have even more of a duty to ensure that our own personal behaviour is exemplary and seen to be exemplary.

“The council has established policies and guidelines on what is, and what is not, acceptable behaviour and robust procedures for ensuring that all complaints are dealt with thoroughly and fairly, and anyone who feels they have been treated inappropriately in any way can feel confident in using this process.

“This serves as a timely reminder that all of us involved in public life must be prepared to uphold the highest standards of behaviour and integrity in our dealings with staff and the communities we serve.”