Published: 15:08, 22 July 2021
| Updated: 16:41, 22 July 2021
A local authority is taking tough action to stop abuse of its staff after verbal, online and even physical attacks on employees.
Thanet District Council says in recent months there have been incidents in which members of staff have been targeted, including abusive phone calls and nasty comments on social media.
There have also been instances of physical attacks on employees trying to carry out their jobs across the Isle.
It has led to a new campaign being launched to make a stand against the mistreatment and a warning that incidents will be reported to the police.
The campaign is part of the wider Respect Protect Enjoy message that has been shared since April, but with the focus on respect for council employees.
It features photographic portraits of frontline staff, all of whom are Thanet residents.
The aim is to highlight that people doing these jobs are individuals, who live locally, and all of whom take pride in the area, as well as in their jobs.
'There is absolutely no excuse or reason for anyone to be abused in any way...'
The images are accompanied by the message ‘no excuse for abuse’ and will be seen across the district and on social media.
"While the campaign features frontline staff, the message relates to all staff members and all forms of abuse," a council spokesman said.
"This includes abusive phone calls to staff in a range of different teams and comments on social media.
"Thanet District Council’s social media accounts are managed and monitored by real people who are simply trying to do their jobs."
Leader Cllr Ash Ashbee says council staff provide essential services and yet at times they have become a target for frustrations.
"As we head into the holiday season and as our streets, beaches and open spaces get busier, no one should have to tolerate abuse while simply doing their job," she said.
"We know that the vast majority of people are respectful and understand how hard our staff work, under difficult circumstances. The immense outpouring of kindness and appreciation during the initial lockdown period made a real difference to morale.
"We also know that when people choose to take their anger out on our staff, by shouting at them on the phone, in the street or leaving abusive comments on social media that this kind of behaviour really takes its toll.
"These are people who are simply doing their jobs who should be treated as you would wish to be treated yourself, not just during a pandemic but all of the time.
"So, before taking any action please think about the person behind the uniform, or on the other end of the phone. It’s someone’s family member, or best friend. There is absolutely no excuse or reason for anyone to be abused in any way."