VERBAL abuse against Bolton Council workers has nearly trebled over the course of last three years, shocking new figures have revealed.

There were 91 reports of verbal assaults on council staff between April 2019 to March 2020 – an increase of 176 per cent on the 33 attacks recorded two years before.

The latest figure is also up 28 from the 2018/19 total of 63.

And there has also been a worrying rise in reports of physical assaults against local authority employees.

From April 2019 to March 2020 there were 39 incidents of physical abuse reported, up from 2018/19 (34) and 2017/18 (28).

The statistics were published following a Freedom of Information request to the council.

The local authority said it carries procedures to cut the number of attacks on its workforces.

The Bolton News:

A council worker paints road markings

Executive member for stronger communities at the council, Cllr Nadim Muslim, said: “Bolton Council does not tolerate rude or aggressive behaviour, threats or violence towards staff.

“Any employee who experiences this type behaviour will be fully supported.

“Our staff work incredibly hard to deliver services for the community and there are policies in place to reduce the risk of work-related violence, threats or abuse."

Workers union Unison represents council staff members in the town and has a "principle of zero tolerance" when it comes to people being abusive to workers.

Communications officer at Bolton Unison, Martin Challender, said: “Unison members work in refuse collection, social care, street cleaning, social work, special needs transport, trading standards, environmental health and other many areas to support our local communities.

"In recent years all councils have seen austerity and drastic cut backs, this can cause frustration for everyone.

"Everyone has a right to complain but no-one has a right to be abusive, most people respect that.

"Unison fully supports a principle of zero tolerance to any form of abuse or threatening behaviour."