The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said it is taking a zero tolerance approach to physical and verbal assaults against its staff.
Between April 2016 and March 2017, more than 300 driving examiners, vehicle testers and roadside enforcement staff suffered physical or verbal abuse while doing their jobs. This was an increase of more than 50% on the previous year.
The organisation said attacks on its staff have included:
- Verbal abuse and death threats;
- Damaging staff cars and offices;
- Serious physical assaults;
- Lorry drivers trying to run DVSA enforcement cars off the road; and
- Failed driving test candidates driving off with their examiner still in the car against their will.
DVSA’s campaign aims to put a stop to the abuse against its staff, and will warn people what will happen if they do abuse, threaten or assault staff; show how being assaulted at work affects members of staff; and encourage staff to report any instance of abuse so offenders can be dealt with.
At the roadside, at operator sites or authorised testing centres, DVSA will record any abuse from commercial drivers and vehicle operators as evidence for any investigation by the traffic commissioners, and will report serious incidents to the police.
In some busy sites, enforcement staff are starting to trial body-worn cameras to capture evidence of abuse.
Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA Chief Executive, said: “I am immensely proud of my colleagues at DVSA, all of whom work incredibly hard to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads.
“We do not tolerate anyone abusing, threatening or assaulting them.
“Our message is clear – whatever has happened, don’t take it out on our staff. If you do, we’ll press for the strongest possible penalties.”
The Traffic Commissioner for Wales, Nick Jones, said: “My fellow traffic commissioners and I welcome the agency’s campaign to tackle the unacceptable abuse which staff may face whilst carrying out their professional duties.”