Traffic wardens in Wakefield are to be given body cameras after an “alarming” rise in verbal and physical assaults against them.
Attacks on officers in the district have jumped from 14 in 2017/18 to 34 between April 2018 and February 2019.
The council has linked the increase to its decision to start enforcing highways restrictions three years ago and says attacks on its staff will not be tolerated.
Therapy is being offered to wardens who’ve suffered from traumatic experiences, and they will also be given conflict handling training run by ex police officers.
In a report, the Wakefield Council’s transport portfolio holder Matthew Morley likened society’s attitude to wardens to aggression displayed towards football referees.
He said: “For some reason society seems to consider it acceptable to abuse them without much sense of guilt or reproach.
“It’s possible they’re seen an easy target but does that explain why it should be the case? After all, without them (traffic wardens) it can spoil things for the rest of us.”
Coun Morley said the welfare of staff was a “top priority”.
He added: “One major improvement yet to be progressed is the use of body worn cameras.
“The council is currently producing a corporate policy that will enable the go ahead for cameras to be purchased and to be put into use across the council.
“It’s hoped this will significantly reduce the number of violent incidents council employees are currently experiencing and provide evidence to the police that will secure a conviction should an attack take place.”
READ: Here are the top 11 Indian takeaways in Wakefield according to TripAdvisor
Body-worn video cameras have been used by West Yorkshire Police since 2016, with supporters of the technology saying it makes officers’ conduct transparent and reduces spurious complaints by members of the public.
Critics, which include civil liberty groups, have claimed they are “intrusive” and their use needs to be regulated.
UNISON, the trade union which represents parking wardens in Wakefield, has been approached for comment but has yet to respond.
In a statement, the British Parking Association (BPA) said: “It is a sad fact that violence towards civil enforcement officers and frontline staff often increases after incidents of assault and abuse are publicised in the media.
“Parking professionals everywhere are undertaking an important job, assisting millions of people every day to park safely go about their lives.
“The BPA continues to seek better protection and respect for people delivering parking services and is campaigning for an end to abuse and malicious behaviour towards civil enforcement officers and other parking professionals.”