BBC One Show highlights violent attacks on bin men

Violent assaults against bin men are on the increase and tough measures must be taken to curb this worrying trend, waste leaders have warned.

The call for a zero tolerance approach to the growing problem of unprovoked public assaults on waste operatives comes after the BBC One Show highlighted the plight now faced by refuse collection crews up and down the country.

The episode, screened yesterday evening, showed incidents of ‘recycle rage’ where car drivers stuck behind refuse trucks got out of their vehicles to threaten and harass bin men for blocking the road.

Loaders in particular were also subject to near misses by cars as drivers swerved onto pavements to overtake stationary trucks. One crew member from Biffa servicing the Stratford-on-Avon area said he was head-butted by a resident for not emptying a wheelie bin because of fortnightly collections.

Industry body the Environmental Services Association (ESA) said the trend for aggression had worsened in recent times. According to its own research, around 110 violent assaults against ESA members’ staff occur every year.

“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,” said ESA director general Barry Dennis.

He added that the nature of the job meant involved a high degree of public interaction and that waste operatives were particularly susceptible to violent and aggressive assaults by disgruntled members of the public.

To try and combat the problem, ESA has devised a standard form for the reporting of violent incidents to improve understanding on the number, type and location of incidents.

Dennis added: ” We will be looking at the possibility of running a joint national campaign [with the Association of Chief Police Officers] to ensure a consistency in approach across the country.”

Maxine Perella

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