Council worker harassment on the rise in Lincolnshire

Abuse against council workers in Lincolnshire is on the rise, a council says, all the way from bin men up to the leader.

Coun Richard Wright - Leader of North Kesteven District Council.
Coun Richard Wright - Leader of North Kesteven District Council.

Even the Leader of North Kesteven District Council says he has been on the receiving end of more rude and aggressive conduct, and blames a build-up in frustration over lockdown.

As a result, NKDC are bringing in stronger safeguards to keep its workers safe.

Coun Mervyn Head told a recent Executive Board meeting: “Nobody should expect to be abused in any shape or form for doing their job.

“I have witnessed some of this first hand when we had the twin-stream rollout with the purple lidded bins.

“One of the collection crews said in the 14 years he had worked for this council, he had never been abused and treated in that way.”

The policies are designed to protect both frontline workers and office staff who deal with members of the public.

One person’s behaviour was so extreme that a worker was forced to ask the Community Safety team for help in getting a protection notice against them, a report reveals.

Council leader Coun Richard Wright said that it was important to protect all workers from abuse.

“While the vast majority of residents behave perfectly well with their questions and complaints, I’ve seen a rise in this myself,” he said.

“The number of people who think it’s acceptable to shout at you or keep repeating the same question… The behaviour is appalling from some people – thankfully the minority – but I have seen an increase in it.

“As a politician, I can be more robust in my reply than our colleagues feel free to. Frankly, I don’t reply in the way some people deserve.

“I don’t know why it has risen because the service level from this authority hasn’t decreased. Perhaps frustration has built up over the last few years – we have seen data that people’s mental health and well-being has been affected.

“I have had two incidents this week alone. It’s something that’s happening, and I’m pleased we can protect our colleagues.”

The policies will be introduced for North Kesteven District Council’s staff as soon as possible.

Unacceptable behaviour will include aggressive language or tone, persistent and vexatious demands, and other offensive language or threats.