Traffic wardens could get stab vests

TRAFFIC wardens in an Essex town could be among the first in the country to wear stab-proof jackets in response to the growing number of people carrying knives.

TRAFFIC wardens in an Essex town could be among the first in the country to wear stab-proof jackets in response to the growing number of people carrying knives.

Colchester Borough Council has revealed its parking attendants face verbal abuse every day and have been assaulted by irate motorists.

So bosses have decided to take action now to help prevent any of the 21 traffic wardens being seriously injured or even killed.

They are now in discussions with a manufacturer to supply suitable jackets which would be light enough for staff to wear each day.


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The protective clothing will cost about £8,000 and comes from the surpluses from parking enforcement, which have to be ploughed back into the same area.

The scheme will be trialled by the parking attendants but will also need the agreement of Essex County Council which is responsible for highways.

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In April, Essex Ambulance Service, now known as the East of England Ambulance Service, introduced stab vests in Essex although individual staff choose whether to wear one.

Norman Hicks, parking manager at the council, said they wanted to act before someone was attacked in the town.

“It is all because there is more knife usage and more availability of knives at night and people are carrying them more,” he said.

“We are trying to think ahead so the staff actually have the protection before they need it.

“We have not had any increase in the number of stabbings, but it is something that is high on the agenda nationally.

“We do not think the risk of being stabbed is high, but we do think this is worth considering.”

Mr Hicks said parking attendants did “not feel loved” because of daily verbal abuse.

He said some members of the public understood why the parking attendants were needed while others were less tolerant because they had been given a ticket in the past.

“We have the health and safety and wellbeing of our staff at the heart. They are our chief resource and we want to make sure they are looked after,” he said.

The council is not allowed to profit from its parking operation but does not involve a private partner so money remains in-house.

Murray MacGregor, ambulance service spokesman: “Staff make a risk assessment when they go out and choose to wear, or not to wear, one as they see fit.

“Some people wear them all the time and others never do. Situations can turn quickly, which is why some people choose to wear them all the time. I think that, overall, they have been well received.”

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