'Still too many' instances of violence and aggression towards Hartlepool council staff

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There are "still too many" instances of violence and aggression towards Hartlepool council staff, despite a drop in recent years, according to local authority chiefs.

A total of 80 incidents were recorded in 2021-22, down from 91 the previous year, states a Hartlepool Borough Council (HBC) report.

The drop comes after incidents reached a peak of 240 in 2019-20, which led to the launch of the Respect: Everyone Deserves It campaign in March 2020 and the creation of a staff safety forum.

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A report from Claire McLaren, council assistant director for corporate services, said the action came after an “exponential rise of physical and verbal violence and aggression” to staff in the preceding four years.

Hartlepool Civic Centre.Hartlepool Civic Centre.
Hartlepool Civic Centre.

She said: “This commitment very clearly set out that HBC were adopting a ‘zero tolerance’ approach towards violence and aggression.

“There are still too many instances where violence and aggression occurs.

“This reduction is likely to be as a result of the pandemic and a reduction in face to face contract with the public.

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"However the implementation of council measures are also likely to have contributed.”

Earlier this month council leader councillor Shane Moore and managing director Denise McGuckin signed a declaration committing to a clampdown on abuse towards staff.

This marked the launch of a new staff safety policy, outlining how the council expects employees to be treated, covering face to face, telephone, email and online interactions.

In the event of an incident, action open to the council includes restricting or removing access to council buildings, issuing a community protection warning, reporting to the police and seeking legal action.