Council workers face ‘sickening physical and verbal assaults’ during coronavirus pandemic

Support us and go ad-free

Council workers have been abused and assaulted as they carry out their duties during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. One safety patrol officer had his leg broken after a cyclist rode into him.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said there’d been a number of “sickening physical and verbal assaults” on workers. It called on the public to respect the “tireless efforts” of council staff.

The LGA acknowledged that “emotions and tensions are running high” during the pandemic but said workers had been spat and sworn at, shoved by members of the public and racially abused.

“Unacceptable”

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council said police were investigating after a cyclist rode into a community safety patrol officer and broke his leg on Thursday. The incident, which took place in Southend High Street, was captured on CCTV.

Meanwhile, Swindon Borough Council reported that staff at its household waste recycling centre had been “spat and sworn at” last weekend, when the site was restricted to essential recycling only.

In a post on Facebook, the council said:

“This behaviour isn’t acceptable at any time, not least in the current circumstances.”

Councillor James Jamieson, chairman of the LGA, said:

“Local government workers should always be respected and valued – even more so in these challenging times – when they are needed more than ever.

It is becoming increasingly concerning to hear that local government workers are being subjected to physical and verbal abuse as they try and play their part in keeping the country running through this crisis.

This is unacceptable, and it has to stop.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. It is awful to read of any evidence of how far from true it is that we’re ‘in this together’, though many of us see more every day one way or another. There is a split in local authorities though that is not acknowledged well, that – without at all wanting to excuse the behaviour reported here – is behind at least some of the bad feeling. I respect those dealing with the public whether they are the non-senior admin staff in council offices or the various engineers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters. These get a raw deal from the public at times even outside of, preceding, our current emergency; but they are taking the flak legitimately due on the desks of often sociopathic or outrightly criminally negligent and fraud-prone senior staff often receiving five or six times the national average salary for thoroughly mediocre work and a bean-counters’ dehumanisation, in situations then covered up by the equally fraudulent Housing Ombudsman and Local Government Ombudsman. The public need to recognise who the enemy is and who they should be feeling solidarity with.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.