MP Mark Garnier: 'Assaults on public sector workers have to stop'

Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier

There are a great many people who do tricky and dangerous jobs to help us all. Firefighters, paramedics, police, emergency room staff in hospitals. All sorts. But one group who rarely get any credit are those doing roadworks.

I know – people will be asking how I can compare someone who digs up a road with someone who runs into a burning building to save life and property, but they all have something in common. Astonishingly, they are assaulted by the public on a more regular basis than you would expect.

It seems amazing that those people who do jobs that serve the public are, from time to time, victims of drunken abuse, taunting, challenging behaviour and, in extremes, death.

When it comes to those working on our roads, I do understand how frustrating it can be that traffic can be held up including, on occasions, roadworks that seem to be closed. Indeed, there are laws that fine contractors who fail to meet targets and they are bound by many regulations to make their work both safe and efficient. Of course, the other side of the coin is that in order to do something us mundane as filling potholes, all the way to delivering superfast broadband or even the new flood defences in Bewdley’s Beale Corner, we need to close parts or all of a road. There is a necessary and unfortunate inconvenience whilst this improvement work is undertaken.

Last week, I met with a the head of highways from Worcestershire County Council, the head of a significant contractor who delivers the necessary works, and a victim of assault. Far from being a burly six footer, Gemma was trying to manage the stop and go process when a drunk passenger decided to have a go, punching her in the face.

These assaults on public sector workers have got to stop. It seems incredible that anyone can have such limited patience that they have to try to beat up a woman who is holding them up from their next drink, but any number of A+E nurses will bear testament to a similar problem.

So, if you see some prat having a go at someone doing their job, film it and call it in to the police. The sooner we can bring these cretins to account, the safer it is for us all. And in the meantime, I shall be enthusiastically supporting the campaign against assaults of road workers.

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