Violent attacks at work increase again
The sharp increase in physical assaults against workers highlighted in the British Crime Survey for the last year is hugely concerning, coming after a huge fall in such incidents over the course of the last decade. Whilst levels of assaults are still far lower than ten years ago (Much of which thanks to joint work by unions and employers in sectors such as health care and retail), this has to act as a wake-up call to both the Government and employers.
The recession has undoubtedly been a key reason for the rise in physical assaults. Greater levels of stress and a rise in activities such as shoplifting have led to an increase in violence against workers. The changes to licensing laws have caused more attacks on emergency workers, transport workers and bar staff.
Whatever the circumstances, there must be zero tolerance to any act of abuse or aggression against a person who is just engaged in doing their job. Employers and the police must ensure that action is taken against those that threaten or assault employees.
We also need to stop just talking about the problems of binge drinking, and instead take action to control the drink culture that has helped fuel this rise in violence and abuse which many of our key workers now face on an almost daily basis. This unwelcome change in the direction of the statistics cannot be allowed to become a trend.