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.
We're heartbroken to hear that some of our #LocalGov colleagues have been abused while working to keep communities running.
This is unacceptable. They're our people and they are working tirelessly to get us all through💙
— Local Government Association (@LGAcomms) March 27, 2020
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.
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