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Traffic wardens under attack across Courier Country

A parking attendant in Fife was abused.
A parking attendant in Fife was abused.

There have been almost 200 physical and verbal attacks against traffic wardens across Courier Country in the last five years.

Some councils have resorted to having parking attendants and traffic wardens wear body cameras, such is the rate of assaults both physical and verbal on staff.

The shocking statistics, gathered via a freedom of information investigation, shows Dundee having the highest incident rate – with 89 verbal and physical assaults on council parking staff being recorded since January 2013.

An “unacceptable” 177 verbal and physical acts of violence have been reported in Dundee, Fife, Angus and Perth and Kinross councils against parking staff, which includes wardens on the beat and attendants in multi-storey facilities.

In Angus, control of parking was handed over to the local authority from the police in April of last year.

Eleven reports of violence or verbal abuse have been recorded in the area since then.

Perth and Kinross traffic wardens did not fare any better, with 31 verbal or physical attacks being reported there.

In Fife, 46 attacks on staff parking attendants categorised as violence, aggression and threat were reported to council bosses, with three of these being committed against community wardens.

Parking in public areas falls under the control of local authorities, who are free to set up their own rules and regulations through the implementation of Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO).

Angus Council say their staff are highly trained to deal with incidents of an aggressive nature and that if a problem escalates the matter could be reported to the police.

An Angus Council spokesperson said: “Assaults on our staff are never acceptable, wherever they occur, whatever the circumstances and irrespective of whether they are verbal or physical.

“We are committed to preventing violence and aggression and encourage our staff to record and report such behaviour.

“Where incidents do happen, we use all appropriate measures to take action in relation to those responsible and ensure that the staff member affected receives appropriate support.

“All reported incidents reported are taken seriously and progressed according to their particular circumstances. If those circumstances dictate, the matter is reported to other relevant agencies, which can include the police.

“All our staff are suitably qualified, trained and supported to ensure they can carry out their important roles in the community in a safe and effective way, both for themselves and those using the service.”

In Dundee, the council maintains it treats each incident of threat with the upmost urgency, as well as offering affected employees with support following any breaches.

A spokesperson for Dundee City Council said: “Violence against our staff in whatever form is completely unacceptable.

“If an incident occurs staff should advise their line manager and are encouraged to fill in a reporting form.

“Each incident is investigated as a matter of urgency and confidentially to determine the precise nature of it, the factors contributing to it and to identify any measures which might be taken to minimise the likelihood of a repetition of this or something similar.

“Council staff who have been victims of violence are offered and given the appropriate levels of support.”

A Fife Council spokesperson said: “Any verbal threat, abusive or violent behaviour that is directed towards a parking attendant is recorded on the council First Contact system.

“Details of the incident are recorded on a form and a manager will review the incident, speak to the employee and take any appropriate measures.

“If the incident is of a serious nature, then the matter will be reported to the police if it hasn’t already been.

“Parking attendants receive conflict management training and are well briefed in dealing with challenging customers and deescalating techniques.

“They are also equipped with body worn CCTV which records video and voice which helps to deter abusive behaviour.”

A Perth and Kinross Council spokesperson said: “The safety and well-being of our staff is a matter that we take very seriously and the council has a range of supports and procedures in place to ensure it’s maintained.

“Actions of physical or verbal abuse towards our staff will not be tolerated and this kind of behaviour will be dealt with immediately.”