Scottish Conservative MSP Liz Smith has branded the number of physical and verbal threats to Fife Council staff as “utterly shocking” and has said “there is no excuse” for this type of behaviour.
The politician, who represents the Mid Scotland and Fife region, was commenting on figures released to the party through Freedom of Information which reveal a staggering total of 5,514 physical threats were made to employees of Fife Council from 2016 to 2020.
And the figures also show that a total of 1,963 verbal threats were made to frontline staff in Fife over the same period.
Commenting, Liz Smith said: “The staff who were subjected to these threats were only doing their job – serving the public and the local authority – they don’t deserve to get either physical or verbal threats.
“The figures provided show that they work in various departments of Fife Council, ranging from Adult Service to Property Services, Housing and Children and Families and Criminal Justice. It is notable too that the highest number of both physical and verbal threats in each of the years from 2016 up to 2020 was in Fife Council’s Housing department.”
She continued: “Even if residents feel they have an issue they are not happy with, handing out physical and verbal threats to local authority staff is not on – there is no excuse for this.
“I find these figures very alarming and they underline the difficulties faced by some council employees when dealing with certain members of the general public.
“Appropriate action needs to be taken against the individuals concerned in handing out his kind of abuse.”
*The Freedom of Information data provided statistics up to November 6, 2020.