Published: 12:49, 12 February 2021
| Updated: 12:53, 12 February 2021
There have been more than 500 reports of Medway Council staff being subjected to violence or abusive behaviour in the last four years - the majority of cases involve school pupils.
A Freedom of Information request revealed 521 incidents directed towards employees between 2016 and 2020.
A total of 236 violent or abusive incidents by pupils - 45% of the total - were reported to the local authority either by schools or academies.
The figures, supplied to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, reveal there were 156 classed as “abuse by member of the public” and 46 as “violence by member of the public”.
While the vast majority were reported by employees, there were also a small number of contractors and agency workers who found themselves at the sharp end.
The council’s regeneration, culture and environment department recorded 211 incidents in the four years.
Although most occurred in and around schools, 18 were in public areas including car parks.
Five happened over the phone and 16 were in reception areas.
Samantha Beck-Farley, head of human resources at Gun Wharf, said: “The safety and wellbeing of our staff is our highest priority, and we take verbal and physical threats and incidents incredibly seriously.
“We provide training courses for staff which focus on preventing situations from escalating, including conflict management and personal safety.
“If our staff are subjected to verbal or physical abuse we provide a range of tailored support, depending on the individual incident.
“All council staff also have 24/7 access to a confidential counselling service.”