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

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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.


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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  • 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.

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