Merton Council Workers Suffer Abuse And Attacks

Plea for more respect to public sector staff

Calls have been made for more respect to be shown to public sector workers following a survey into attacks on front line staff in London.

The London Councils survey shows up to three parking attendants a day in London are assaulted. This includes being run over, shot at, or attacked by gangs with baseball bats.

Records in Merton reveal 26 reported incidents of abuse endured by officers in front line enforcement and waste operations roles between October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010. 

In Merton earlier this month police arrested a man for physically assaulting one of the borough’s civil enforcement officers. He has now been cautioned, so has a criminal record. The officer was issuing a parking ticket to an illegally parked vehicle when he was attacked by the driver and suffered a cut to his nose.

Commenting afterwards, the officer said: "All we are trying to do is our job. The people who are committing an offence are in the wrong, and they still feel at liberty to be violent towards us."

In November one of the council's recycling collectors was the victim of a hit and run incident, when he was left lying in the road with his leg broken in two places following a collision with another car.    

Between July and September this year alone, there have been seven other reported incidents of physical abuse towards civil enforcement officers as they were going about their duty.

Leader of Merton Council Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: "The work our civil enforcement officers carry out is vital for residents' quality of life. It is appalling that some members of the public feel they can act in this way, with no self-control or respect for others. There is never any excuse to be violent towards public sector workers like this. 

"If people disagree with any decision, there are proper and fair appeal channels to follow. Our civil enforcement officers, as well as all other Council staff, should be able to go about their legitimate work without fear of being attacked."   

Superintendent David Paterson of the Metropolitan Police said: "Violent and aggressive behaviour towards frontline public sector employees is totally unacceptable. Police will always fully investigate such allegations, with offenders likely to be criminally prosecuted."   

December 17, 2010