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|TV Licensing highlights abuse of TV licensing officers|
|Thursday, 19 November 2015|
As part of Anti-Bullying Month, TV Licensing is launching a campaign to tackle the increasing problem of verbal and physical attacks on its enquiry officers who visit unlicensed properties.
Attacks on TV Licensing enquiry officers have more than doubled in the last year. In the last financial year, 89 enquiry officers were victims of physical assaults by members of the public. This is up from 37 in the previous year and included several instances in which staff were admitted to hospital.
In total, 360 enquiry officers faced physical and verbal assaults in the last financial year. In Worcester one female officer was told, " I will smash your face in if you don't **** off,” while another officer in Dundee had a hammer waved in his face. In another incident, an officer was physically picked up and thrown over a five foot hedge.
Many officers have had death threats made to them after knocking on doors, while others have been punched and spat at, had TVs thrown at them and also been filmed whilst being abused, with clips posted on YouTube. Filming incidents have risen dramatically, with 721 incidents recorded in the last year, up from 294 in the previous year.
TV Licensing says some of its officers have had to have counselling following attacks. "It's getting increasingly more difficult, and because of social media, we are experiencing more verbal and physical abuse” says one enquiry officer from Glasgow. ”People are getting more evasive, and angry at our presence. It's getting worse, and in some cases, endangering and affecting Enquiry Officers in their private lives."
Colin Jones, TV Licensing Field Operations Director, said: “The threats our officers can receive when they are just trying to carry out their role are completely unacceptable. Those who attack them seem to forget they are human beings.
“They do a great job, remaining professional and courteous in sometimes very challenging circumstances and we do everything we can to support them. This includes reporting serious threats and abuse to the police.”
Supporting the campaign are Police Scotland, the Licensed Taxi Federation, Liverpool City Council, Kent Police Force and the Scottish Taxi Federation. NIIRTA, (Northern Ireland Independent Trade Association) and Hospitality Ulster are also behind the campaign.
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