There are never any circumstances that make it acceptable to abuse someone working in a public service role. Thanet District Council is making a stand against this behaviour and has launched a new campaign to remind the public to respect its staff as they go about their work in the district.
The council has noted that there have been incidents of verbal and online abuse of its staff in recent months and even instances of physical abuse. Taking the view that even one such instance is one too many, it has made the decision to highlight the issue. This summer a new campaign will remind the public that council staff don’t deserve to be shouted at, or worse, as they go about their jobs.
Running throughout the summer holidays, the campaign is part of the wider Respect Protect Enjoy message that the council has been sharing since April, with the focus here on respect for council staff. The campaign features photographic portraits of frontline staff, all of whom are Thanet residents. The aim is to highlight that people doing these jobs are individuals, who live locally, and all of whom take pride in the area, as well as in their jobs. The images which are accompanied by the message ‘no excuse for abuse’ offer a stark reminder that this kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable.
While the campaign features frontline staff, the message relates to all staff members and all forms of abuse. This includes abusive phone calls to staff in a range of different teams and comments on social media. Thanet District Council’s social media accounts are managed and monitored by real people who are simply trying to do their jobs. The aim is to encourage people to stop and think about the individuals who make up the council and to consider the impact their actions might have.
Cllr Ash Ashbee, Leader of Thanet District Council said:
“Council staff provide essential services for our local area and yet at times they have become a target for frustrations. As we head into the holiday season and as our streets, beaches and open spaces get busier, no one should have to tolerate abuse while simply doing their job.
“We know that the vast majority of people are respectful and understand how hard our staff work, under difficult circumstances. The immense outpouring of kindness and appreciation during the initial lockdown period made a real difference to morale.
“We also know that when people choose to take their anger out on our staff, by shouting at them on the phone, in the street or leaving abusive comments on social media that this kind of behaviour really takes its toll. These are people who are simply doing their jobs who should be treated as you would wish to be treated yourself, not just during a pandemic but all of the time. So, before taking any action please think about the person behind the uniform, or on the other end of the phone. It’s someone’s family member, or best friend. There is absolutely no excuse or reason for anyone to be abused in any way.”
The campaign will feature on all the council’s social media channels, at various sites across the district as well as on council vehicles, including the large waste and recycling trucks that visit every town and village in Thanet.
Thanet District Council believes that every member of its staff should be able to conduct their job without fear of being abused and will report matters to the police.