Over 100 Attacks Made on Council Staff Over Five Years

Parking attendants, enforcement officers and school staff among victims

One Hammersmith & Fulham enforcement officer was off work for six months after assault
One Hammersmith & Fulham enforcement officer was off work for six months after assault

January 4, 2024

Staff at Hammersmith and Fulham Council have been robbed, kicked and punched in the head while others have been targeted with raw eggs and water balloons while simply doing their jobs, new data has revealed.

Between January 2018 and October 2023, Hammersmith and Fulham Council workers were subject to over 100 instances of violent physical and verbal abuse, a Freedom of Information (FOI) has found.

One enforcement officer spent 177 days out of work when their shoulder was fractured by an irate member of the public who grabbed them by the throat and threw them to the ground.

In a separate incident, another suffered a sprain to their face, neck and legs after being punched and kicked by two drivers while issuing a fine and missed 88 days of work as a result of their injuries.

In September 2022, a staff member visiting a council housing estate was attacked from behind and violently robbed. They were hit in the head and stamped on numerous times while lying on the ground while a separate incident at an unknown location in the borough saw an off-duty neighbourhood warden threatened with being stabbed.

In 2019, a parking attendant was punched three times and had his body camera damaged after issuing a fine. In a separate incident, a fined driver chased another attendant down the street. Another incident saw a hot cup of coffee thrown at a warden by a driver of an illegally parked vehicle.

One time, a law enforcement officer was shoved and spat at by two different members of the public after visiting a tube station on two occasions on the same day to deal with the same rough sleeper. In another incident, one angry driver tried to snatch a parking warden’s hand held device and took it into a shop.

And it’s not just enforcement officers bearing the brunt of the violence, housing officials and school staff have also been targeted.

In October 2022, two staff members had their hair pulled and were kicked and spat at by a young person during a home visit. In a separate incident at another unknown location, a tenant became so abusive to staff that he rammed one of them in the legs with his wheelchair then reversed and rammed him again.

Two years earlier, a young person lunged at a staff member, scratching them and digging his nail in. In March 2019, a parent at a contact centre punched a supervisor in the face, causing them to knock their head as they fell to the ground.

At school, a child with additional needs became angry over a toy and twisted a staff member’s arm. In another unrelated incident, a staff member had their eye scratched by a pupil when they were asked to return to class.

The data shows Hammersmith and Fulham staff have complained about being touched inappropriately by a tenant, and have had traffic cones, water balloons, raw eggs, half-eaten food and ‘a liquid substance’ thrown at them. They have been kicked and headbutted by members of the public while on patrol and attacked by beggars.

They have also been pursued by frustrated motorists and have been bitten by pupils, with one incident resulting in a worker’s arm swelling afterwards.

The data also shows many incidents involved workers in law enforcement, housing and child services roles. Many received minor injuries and would go on to report the incident to police.

A Hammersmith and Fulham Council spokesperson said, “H&F Council offers all frontline staff extensive conflict management training and we do not tolerate abuse. Our employees also receive additional training from the Suzy Lamplugh Trust about personal safety and lone working.”

Adrian Zorzut - Local Democracy Reporter