staff working for Leeds City Council have been physically attacked more than 1,300 times over the last five years, new figures reveal.
A union official has warned that some staff aren’t reporting assault because they are unhappy with how their complaint is dealt with by the local authority.
A Freedom of Information request shows the number of attacks on workers fell dramatically, from 525 incidents in 2014/15 to just 98 in 2017/18 – a drop of more than 80 per cent.
Most of the incidents involved workers in adult and children’s social care.
Figures show 283 attacks were on staff in children’s services in 2014/15. Last year, the newly-named children and families directorate saw just 53 assaults on its staff recorded.
There were also reductions in assaults on adult social care staff, with 161 assaults recorded in 2014/15 and just 13 in the new adults and health directorate in 2017/18.
Mick Binks, Unison’s health and safety officer for the Leeds branch, said: “I have not noticed a marked decrease – it does seem suspicious. It feels the same and seems like it always has been. We have had a couple of housing officers assaulted quite seriously just recently.
“Maybe the outcomes of reporting it is not satisfactory, so people think ‘what’s the point in reporting it?’.” But Leeds City Council argues that new technology and extra security measures are making the workplace safer for council staff.
Deputy council leader Coun James Lewis said: “Changes in practice, improvements in training and awareness for staff along with a proactive approach to looking at new technology to further protect our staff (such as body cameras for enforcement officers and improved security measures at public facing buildings) has all helped to reduce numbers of assaults. We are committed to the continued improvement of employee health, safety and well-being.”