Housing officers face daily physical and verbal abuse by the public

Housing officers are being physically and verbally abused on a daily basis by the public they are trying to serve, as tension over the shortage of local authority housing boils up.

A freedom of information request by the Conservative’s housing minister Grant Shapps has revealed that just under 1,200 incidents have been reported by 184 English and Welsh councils in the last three years, with 796 of those concerning physical assaults.

Stockport reported the highest number of attacks, with officers admitting to 63 cases of abuse over the last three years. Similarly high rates were also found in Kingston-upon-Thames, Dudley and Sutton.

Shapps told the BBC: “Nothing can ever justify violence against employees who are being forced to cope with this government’s appalling record of high housing waiting lists. I’m concerned because these results reveal a very worrying level of violence towards housing officers, who find themselves on the front-line of Labour’s deepening housing crisis.”

Earlier today, the NHS staff survey revealed that violence towards public sector workers in the NHS was also rife, failing to reduce over the past four years. More than one in 10 staff experienced physical violence by patients, despite efforts to boost training in the prevention of violence or aggression.

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