Scores of Sunderland council staff attacked while at work

Sunderland Civic Centre.
Sunderland Civic Centre.
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ALMOST 100 Sunderland council workers have been attacked while carrying out their duties in the past two years.

New figures reveal that 1,564 council staff across the North East have been either verbally or physically assaulted while at work.

Of that number, 94 have been Sunderland workers and 254 work for Durham County Council.

Sunderland City Council says such attacks will not be tolerated.

Coun Harry Trueman, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “The city council takes the issue of attacks on staff by customers very seriously.

“There is no excuse for physically or verbally assaulting people who are going about their work and honest endeavours. We deplore any threats to our staff and work closely with the public and police to make sure that all staff can go about their business in safety.”

The workers have been struck by stone-throwing yobs, suffered cuts, bruising, fractures and dislocations and, in some cases, even broken bones.

As well as physical injuries, workers are also regularly subject to foul language and abuse.

In one case an employee was sworn at when they discovered a drunken man asleep in a South Tyneside library, while in another, youths ran up and down a council building roof armed with fire-crackers, letting them off as they yelled abuse at workers.

According to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, between 2012 and 2013, 500 staff employed by North Tyneside Council were either physically or verbally assaulted while at work.

Gateshead Council workers suffered 355 attacks in the same period, Newcastle 326 and South Tyneside 35.

Kim Jobson, head of human resources at Durham County Council, said: “We employ more than 17,000 people and thankfully incidents of verbal and physical assaults on our staff are relatively low.

“Where such incidents do occur we will investigate and take any appropriate action in line with our zero tolerance approach towards this type of behaviour.”