In the line of fire

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SHOCK new figures show assaults on council staff have almost DOUBLED.

A worrying 546 employees were attacked while on professional duties last year compared with 287 three years ago.

Today trade unions called for more protection for public servants amid growing fears that council front-line staff – who may find themselves having to explain reduced levels of service because of the on-going Government cuts – could face even greater levels of frustration and aggression. Director of Corporate Services Paul McKevitt confirmed the number of reported physical attacks on council employees had increased.

Almost all incidents relate to the Adult Services and Children and Young People’s Services (CYPS) departments. More than 70 per cent were attributed to ‘challenging behaviours’ of adult and youth clients and at least 15 per cent of the attacks resulted in physical injury to town hall employees which needed treatment.

Divisional secretary of the National Union of Teachers, Max Atkins, said: “The fact that the number of staff being assaulted over the last three years shows an increase is both alarming and appalling.

“What is even worse is that these are only reported incidents – there are certainly hundreds more incidents unreported for various reasons, such as the victim may think the incident is “minor” and so not worth reporting or they might not want to get their attacker into trouble, especially if it is a young child and/or one from a violent background.

“They could also fear more and increased levels of violence if they report the attack.

“The sad fact is, too many workers, especially teachers and support staff, now accept this as part of the job.”

FULL STORY IN THE WIGAN EVENING POST (TUESDAY) ...