Verbal assaults against Tweed council staff on rise

Ranger Mark Bignell. Photo: John Gass / Daily News
Ranger Mark Bignell. Photo: John Gass / Daily News John Gass

WHILE Gold Coast City Council staff are facing increased risk of abuse from ratepayers, it's a different story in Tweed.

It seems verbal abuse is more of an issue.

Tweed Shire Council reported no assaults of a physical nature however staff had experienced an increased number of cases of verbal abuse towards staff performing its duties.

Tweed ranger Mark Bignell said although about two years ago, a colleague and he were nearly run over by an irate motorist, he had not encountered aggressive behaviour of that nature again.

However, Mr Bignell did experience verbal abuse over the last 12 months.

"It's the quiet ones, who don't say anything you have to be careful off," Mr Bignell said.

Mr Bignell said he patrolled the beaches from the border all the way to Ocean Shores and did encounter people taking their dogs for walks off the leash on beaches were this was not allowed.

He also ran into the occasional tourist pretending not to know the local vehicle beach access rules and driving around on the beach but apart from the odd verbal sparring he had not encountered any physical violence towards him over the last 12 months.

 

Reader poll

Have you ever gotten mad a Tweed Shire Council staffer?

This poll ended on 22 October 2012.

All the time - 20%

Once - 10%

Never - 70%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Tweed council director of technology and corporate services Troy Green said, "this trend is seen as a reflection of general changes in cultural values and attitudes."

 

A Gold Coast council spokesperson said its staff encountered an increased number of aggressive acts, such as insulting behaviour and threats of violence, over the last 12 months prompting the council to put in place a Managing Aggression Program for staff across the entire organisation.

"Most of the staff at council who has direct contact with the community in carrying out their duties has a positive experience, for some that is not the case.

"The program provides staff with the confidence and strategies to help prevent and manage workplace violence and aggression.

"Staff is encouraged to report incidents of abuse and violence to the organisation and the police," the spokesperson said.

Topics:  gold coast city council, staff abuse, tweed shire council



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