Incidents of violence or abuse towards refuse and recycling collectors are said to be increasing with the Environmental Services Association (ESA) collating reports for the police.
In a report on the One Show (5m 20 into the programme), presenter Tony Livesey warned: “More and more [binmen] are facing danger and even suffering violence and abuse from angry residents.”
These include verbal abuse, violence, and near-misses by vehicles whose impatient drivers do not want to be delayed by collection vehicles.
For the report (aired 14 November), presenter Tony Livesey and a BBC crew went out on a round collecting refuse and recycling round with a Biffa crew in Stratford-on-Avon. One loader for the crew, Mario Kaczmarek, told of his experiences of being verbally abused and headbutted by one resident.
Cameras had been installed on the majority of collection trucks as a response to the trend, making it easier to capture incidents of violence, including one shown in the report that comprised an angry resident unleashing five minutes of verbal abuse on one refuse collector.
The Environmental Services Association (ESA), is collating cases of residents’ violence towards binmen to give to the police. The ESA had heard of 117 incidents of violent assault at the kerbside and at recycling centres in the past year but one of the most shocking cases was one member of the public getting out of his car and using a crowbar to threaten a binman.
Director general Barry Dennis said: “Alarmingly, this figure is likely to be the tip of the iceberg, as it does not include acts of threatening behaviour or verbal abuse, which are generally unreported and all too often considered commonplace.”
The ESA said it is calling for a zero tolerance approach to the growing problem of unprovoked assaults on waste operatives.
Dennis, said: “ESA has devised a standard form for the reporting of violent incidents in order to improve our understanding on the number, type and location of incidents. We appreciate the assistance that the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) have given us, as we work together to discuss options for remedial action to stop this alarming trend in its tracks. Collection crews and HWRC workers provide a vital service, and should be allowed to do their job without fear of assault. We will be looking at the possibility of running a joint national campaign to ensure a consistency in approach across the country.”
Photo shows (left to right): BBC The One Show presenter Tony Livesey, Biffa driver P J Bailey, and loaders Steve Boyce and Mario Kaczmarek