Violent assaults, threats, racist abuse and insults have all been aimed at Canterbury City Council’s Civil Enforcement Officers in recent weeks.

The escalating number of incidents by a tiny minority of the people they come into contact with every day has prompted the council to warn they will push for the toughest possible sanctions via the police and the courts.

Recent incidents include:

  • a man attacking a Civil Enforcement Officer from behind and trying to grab him around the throat in Herne Bay
  • a driver furious for being fined for overstaying in a one-hour bay in Herne Bay returning to the scene to swear at the Civil Enforcement Officer and threaten to punch him in the mouth
  • a driver in Canterbury who got a ticket after refusing to move off from a set of double yellow lines when asked who then pushed the Civil Enforcement Officer. As the officer walked away, the man attacked him from behind and hit him in the side of the head with his mobile phone
  • a driver who racially abused a Civil Enforcement Officer after receiving a ticket for parking on the footway

The police are investigating all four incidents.

Cabinet member for enforcement, Cllr Ashley Clark, said: “This sort of behaviour is simply not on and we are determined to come down on these people like a ton of bricks.

“We will always push the police and the courts to impose the most serious punishment available. It’s simple – if you follow the rules like the vast majority of people, you will not get a ticket.

“Civil Enforcement Officers are someone’s loved one, parents, brothers, sisters and friends who are just doing their jobs and don’t deserve the abuse they receive while going about their business.

“Without them our roads would grind to a halt, buses would not be able to operate, parking spaces would be hogged by people, bins would not be able to be collected because dustcarts could not get through, the emergency services would not be able to get to people quickly enough to help them and school pick up and drop off times would be even more dangerous.

“They know it’s a thankless task and appreciate the support they get from the public most of the time.”

As a uniformed presence on the streets, Civil Enforcement Officers also go the extra mile to help people and have:

  • given first aid and CPR to help save people’s lives
  • helped vulnerable or suicidal people get the help they need before it is too late
  • helped find missing people
  • helped the police
  • carried shopping for elderly people that are struggling
  • resolved conflicts among neighbours

By Ed

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