Preventing the abuse and attacks and subsequent injuries on Parking Enforcement Professionals has now become a real issue and task for many Local Governments.
Are you aware of the fact that hundreds of Parking Enforcement Professionals are being attacked every year here in the UK alone?
Did you know that work-related violence is a contributing factor to stress and absenteeism among staff costing UK employers £700 million annually.
So, do I think that concealable and lightweight stab resistant vests should be considered when discussing and evaluating how we can effectively help protect these men and women?
Yes I certainly do, and I say this absolutely regardless of the fact that I lead a firm specialized in the design, development and manufacturing of such equipment. I say it because I genuinely and simply care about human life and I would stress that it is crucial to look after those who operate in a ‘higher risk environment’ and those engaging with potentially hostile, intoxicated, frustrated, depressed or aggressive members of the public!
We know that a person who is either intoxicated, simply has a serious dislike for the organisation you represent or aggressively disagrees with any decision you are about to make can overreact to anything you say or do. A lightweight high visibility stab resistant vest will protect you in such case from any impulsive physical assault such person might commit (and possibly deeply regret the following day for the rest of his/her life).
This following image highlights that a body armour does not always need to look ‘authoritative’, ‘offensive’ or ‘confrontational’. We live in a society where a high visibility clothing has become the norm for workwear for many professionals. This type of body armour can be ‘fine tuned’ with the corporate badge highlighting the name and logo of a Local Government and a badge ‘PARKING ENFORCEMENT‘ can also easily be added to the back.
Truly outrageous physical attacks on Parking Enforcement Officers have been revealed in data released by local authorities across the UK and many other countries.
Recent statistics released under the Freedom of Information Act also reveal incidents of council staff in the UK being punched, bitten, head-butted, attacked with pool cues and even suffering sexual abuse. Many of these attacks have resulted in injuries bad enough for the worker to require hospital treatment and often surgery. The media is full of reports covering these incidents.
Headlines & Additional Information:
- May 2010 – ‘An analysis of the extent of workplace violence in the Parking Enforcement Sector‘ (by ‘Institute of Criminal Justice Studies’)
- 19th September 2012 – ‘Parking rage hits capital as 900 wardens are attacked in a year’
- 12th April 2013 – ‘Hundreds of parking officers attacked every year’
- 23rd July 2013 – ‘Three Southend traffic wardens attacked in one day’
- 26th April 2014 - ‘Parking enforcement officers suffered bruising to their face and limbs’
- 26th November 2014 – ‘Attack on Dundee parking attendant branded ‘unacceptable’
We must admit these statistics and news of incidents are a stark reminder of the dangers faced by many public sector workers as they go about their work – often on relatively low levels of pay.
We will hopefully also agree that all of our public servants should feel safe to carry out their important work without the threat of physical and verbal abuse.
However, we also must accept the fact that the above can be classed as ‘wishful thinking’ and may well not be part of reality in today’s society… certainly not in certain parts of this country.
For this reasons appropriate and operationally sensible protection for these frontline professionals is something that needs looking at.
‘Protection’ should effective conflict management training, lone worker safety devices (tracking & alarm systems), radio communication and covert or overt stab vests.
Who else is at risk?
- Parking Enforcement Officers are at risk of verbal and physical attacks from angry drivers who express their frustration and anger via unacceptable physical action, which they may well regret minutes later.
- Environmental Officers – Enforcing regulations and to police the systems places officers at risk from violence as well as accidents at work.
- Trading Standard Officers – Visiting car boot sales and assisting police during raids can be a high risk job at times.
- Licensing Enforcement Officers – Visiting nightclubs, taxi ranks, take aways and other late night venue puts them in contact with intoxicate and sometimes hostile members of the public.
- Housing Officers – Verbal and physical attacks from tenants, when discussing issues such as ‘rent areas’
- Probation Officers – At a high risk of violence due to the nature of this work.
- Social Workers – Staff are often required to work at all hours, including late at night often in deprived areas increasing risk of violence.
- Specialist Teaching staff – Dealing with behavioural problems and special needs, severe learning disabilities and challenging behaviour can represent realistic dangers.
- Community Care Workers – Working with vulnerable groups in disadvantaged areas increases risk of violence.
To make it very clear, I am of course not saying everyone working for a Local Government is at risk of getting stabbed or brutally assaulted… of course not. This is of course depending on a number of factors e.g. are you working alone, time of work, location of work, and precise job responsibilities. However I feel strongly that any public sector professional must have the right to be equipped appropriately.
I have stated it so many times over the past few years… but every time I speak to my staff I explain it again and again… we do not want to sell body armour based on the fear of our customers, we much prefer to explain that wearing a body armour can very well be compared to ‘wearing a seat belt in a car’.
We do not put the seat belt on because we believe we are going to have an accident today. We are simply acknowledging the fact that there is an exceptionally small chance that we might crash.. regardless of our driving skills. We understand that someone else might be playing on his mobile phone, another driver could be drunk or simply not pay the required attention to the traffic, and such person CAN drive into your car… and it is without any question that you will have a higher chance of remaining unharmed in such unlikely, but nevertheless possible incident if you would wear a seat belt.
But we do not put the seat belt on because we believe we are going to have an accident today… we are not paranoid and scared or anxious. We are simply acknowledging the fact that there is an exceptionally small chance that we might crash. Yet, if this chance becomes reality, you have increased the chance of survival by wearing a seat belt.
Wearing a body armour is just the same…
UK based PPSS Group is dedicated to designing, developing and manufacturing of high performance bullet resistant vests, stab vests and cut resistant clothing, in order to protect these domestic frontline professionals.
Please note PPSS Group is also the organiser of the annual LONE WORKER SAFETY Expo, taking place in November every year at London’s Olympia Conference Center.
If you feel we can help please call me or my colleagues on +44 (0) 845 5193 953 or email email@example.com