TRAFFIC wardens and civil enforcement officers (CEOs) in the region have been verbally and physically assaulted 127 times in the last three years, The Northern Echo can reveal.

Councils have said the attacks are “unacceptable” and vowed to prosecute people who are aggressive towards their staff.

Freedom of Information requests revealed:

  • Two female CEOs in Durham were sprayed with deodorant before the cans were used as flame-throwers towards them.
  • On High Street, in Sedgefield, a member of the public deliberately drove onto the pavement so they could try and run a CEO over.
  • A CEO in Harrogate was told “you are such a ****” before being dragged alongside a moving car and held onto by a driver who was angry because he was asked if he had a pay and display ticket.
  • The driver of a black BMW in Ripon headbutted a CEO after telling him “he was going to do him” for issuing a parking ticket.
  • A lorry driver approached a CEO in Fisher Street car park, Knaresborough, and told him: “I will kill you if I ever see you out of uniform.”

Wardens were also pushed over, spat at and had their throats grabbed while trying to carry out their work.

Scarborough was the worst hit area – with 47 separate attacks recorded.

Darlington and Durham had a total of 43 incidents between them, including one officer being rammed with a car door and another being threatened with a hammer.

Nearly half of the attacks included threats to violence or actual violent behaviour.

Dave Wafer, strategic traffic manager at Durham County Council, said: “It is a small minority of people who behave in such a manner but the message is clear – abusive or aggressive behaviour towards parking enforcement officers is unacceptable and we will not tolerate it.”

Bill Westland, Darlington Borough Council’s assistant director for regulatory services, said: “Where we have evidence gathered through the head cams worn by our staff, we will take follow up action including reporting incidents to the police.”

A Middlesbrough Council spokesman said that wardens and CEOs were particularly vulnerable to abuse due to the nature of their role and their generally negative portrayal.

He added: “Our officers carry out their duties with the highest levels of professionalism and integrity and are entitled to be treated with courtesy and respect.”

Councils are also looking at new ways to prevent the attacks.

Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton Borough Council’s cabinet member for housing and community safety, said the authority is reviewing all incidents so additional measures can be taken.

Harrogate Borough Council, which listed 12 assaults including a driver kicking open a secure door and assaulting a CEO in the corridor of an office, said it was looking at using body cams to gather evidence.

The spokesman added: “CEOs should be able to carry out their duties without the fear of assault and keeping them safe is one of our top priorities.”

None of the assaulted staff, who are paid between £13,500 and £25,000 a year, left their posts or received compensation after reporting the incidents.

Scarborough Borough Council was contacted for comment but did not respond.