Council staff subjected to aggression, abuse and threats from members of the public

Cheshire East Council leaders have called for respect towards council staff following a number of recent incidents of 'extreme hostility' by members of the public.

Deputy leader Councillor Craig Browne and Councillor Laura Crane, cabinet member for highways and waste, said the aggression, abuse and threats towards male and female staff and council members are 'totally unacceptable'.

In one incident, more than a dozen residents verbally abused and threatened council highways' staff as they attempted to install traffic calming measures. Several residents also blocked the road to prevent highways vehicles entering.

The level of hostility was such that council managers ordered staff to withdraw and temporarily cease their work.

In a separate incident a female civil enforcement officer suffered a barrage of abuse and threatening behaviour from two men she was ticketing for parking illegally outside a shop.

The council worker, who was simply enforcing the law, was left extremely shaken and shocked by the experience and has required counselling. The matter has been reported to the police and is pending prosecution proceedings.

Cllr Crane said: "This is absolutely disgraceful behaviour towards our workers and completely unacceptable.

"Council highways and enforcement staff work for all our communities, carrying out vital jobs – day in and day out, whatever the weather – to keep our roads safe and traffic flowing. They should not have to face extreme hostility and threats.

"Council staff should be treated like anybody else – with common courtesy and respect. I am only thankful that none suffered physical injury in these incidents. It is shameful to treat anybody that way."

Cllr Browne added: "During the Covid pandemic, council staff have continued to work to serve our communities – often putting others' wellbeing before their own. I, for one, am inspired and impressed by their continued dedication, hard work and resilience – demonstrated, for example, by their commitment to our People Helping People service.

"This has been a difficult and frustrating year for us all. However, we should not allow our frustrations to translate into bullying or abuse towards those who are simply doing their jobs and serving their communities. Instead, we encourage people to share their views on council services through one of the many consultations we hold."

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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Michael Thorley
Tuesday 22nd December 2020 at 7:26 pm
This is totally unacceptable. Unfortunately there are some Wilmslow residents who believe they are above common decency and respect for others. This is also seen in thoughtless parking and speeding throughout the area.
In this more stressful time please can we consider our reactions and change them into more helpful responses
Tony Haluradivth
Tuesday 22nd December 2020 at 8:25 pm
Horrid for the staff Craig and I hope they were supported. In London there have been legitimate protests from residents (who did not abuse hapless Council staff fortunately) but quite rightly removed barriers (plants bollards etc) which the leftwing car hating councils had installed to snarl up the traffic , block roads and frustrate residents
. Paramedics even took the law into their own hands removing obstructions. I condemn abuse and threats to staff at the council but applaud all those in who London removed those barricades. If Sam Corcoran goes all Extinction Rebellion on us and tries the same I hope the same outcome ensues without staff getting the flak and getting caught in the crossfire..
Corcoran came a poor second in the election and is merely keeping the seat warm. He has no legitimate brief to implement any radical changes. I have researched the man ...he is a Marxist /Momentum fan and was a Corbynista. Mr Browne perhaps Mr Corcoran would like to put a message on here thanking all the residents of East Cheshire who obeyed the rules and tolerated lockdowns and loss of income and saw their businesses stumble and struggle whilst they homeschooled children and abandoned weddings holidays , gatherings with family, hugs, kisses and human closeness...People have put lives on hold , have stoically coped with lack of cancer screenings,no cataract surgeries painfully endured their failing hips and knees and waiting, some have waited patiently for their spinal surgical procedures coping on heavy duty painkillers.
There is a nasty trait seeping out of Westminster and into the shires at the moment of blaming all the public, we apparently "unclean", "bio hazards' , "granny killers". Good decent people who have obeyed the restrictions will buckle if those in authority dont ease up on the nastiness. I hope Cheshire East dont start following suit next year.
Mr Browne tell Corcoran to do an NY message of hope and appreciation and publish it on here it would be a very wise move.

When furlough runs out and lockdowns dont let up there will be a backlash I fear. We ALL know we are going into Tier 4/lockdown on 30th December so give us some hope and appreciation . May the hardworking Refuse and Cleansing men and women of Cheshire East have the best Xmas. To me they are the Council heros this year. Iam not so impressed with our Constabulory after a heavy handed Stasi Wanabee stopped our car for being away from our home (2 miles to be precise) in April as we were collecting our click and collect in Wilmslow. He read us the riot act when we declared we did not have our driving licences on us . My wife a retired lawyer calmly educated him on the correct legal niceties. I will not be happy if that vile PCC comissioner tries squeezing another huge precept rise from us next year when folf are really feeling squeezed
Kathryn Blackburn
Wednesday 23rd December 2020 at 3:02 pm
Well said Tony. Another thank you to all the supermarket staff and their delivery men and women.
Tough times. Yes people are now really really fed up. We followed the rules and were still accused of not doing by Spatchcock. Businesses and lives ruined. Time for a different solution this continual lockdown cycle is not working. Come on MP's start asking questions and getting the evidence sourced from the not so Sage. Some rebellion from our members of parliament is needed or as Tony so correctly points out the country will take it into their own hands.
Paul O'Neill
Wednesday 23rd December 2020 at 5:10 pm
Many of the policies and actions of CEC annoy me greatly and on the whole the management are completely inept. However, one must respect the rule of law and mob rule can not be tolerated. Where were the police?
Simon Rodrigues
Wednesday 23rd December 2020 at 7:34 pm
Traffic signs put up using wooden posts endangering people more often m sorry but Cheshire East has struggled with correct leadership, money handling, and management so for the minority that are great can see the problem and do there very best thank you.
Julian Barlow
Thursday 24th December 2020 at 10:36 am
This is an unfortunately consequence of decimating the local economy and keeping people in a perpetual state of fear, unable to pay their ever mounting bills. There's no leadership or strategy from CEC, they couldn't even organise themselves to get a couple of days free parking scheduled during the Christmas period to help the local shops. They are diabolical and their poor staff have to face the brunt of the leaders ineptitude.
Dave Mangnall
Thursday 24th December 2020 at 11:39 am
On a less serious and purely linguistic note, I’ve always thought that “traffic calming” was an inappropriate euphemism for road bumps. Whom are they supposed to make feel calm? The distressing events described above prove me right.

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