SCOTS parking wardens are suffering a epidemic of abuse from enraged motorists, including dog attacks, egg-throwing, spitting, and even water balloon ambushes.
New figures show there were at least 1,240 serious verbal and physical attacks on parking attendants in the past five years.
And the problem is getting worse – reaching almost 300 incidents last year.
The statistics from local councils show that since 2006, there have been at least:
*24 incidents where attendants were deliberately hit by cars, and another four where they were hit by car doors
*19 cases of cars being driven at wardens
*18 examples of drivers spitting at wardens
*9 attacks with eggs
*4 deliberate dog attacks
*9 cases of hats being stolen
The information was released by Scottish councils under the Freedom of Information Act. Some give details about the incidents.
In Glasgow last year it was reported that a female attendant was attacked with a car while talking to someone in a council vehicle.
The report states: “Another vehicle drove past stopped and reversed hitting employees hand held machine and knocking her into the vehicle”.
In another violent case in Glasgow the previous year, it was reported: “Employee issued a (ticket) to a van when the driver came back and became abusive and tried to take photos of employee, he then kicked employee on the backside.”
Also in 2009, it was reported: “Employee issued (ticket) to car, when the driver came out and got in his car being verbally abusive, he ran over employees foot and stopped the car. Employee screamed so he then drove forward. Employee collapsed.”
Another report from Glasgow reveals a parking attendant was “hit on the face with a snowball causing cut & bruise to the face/nose”.
In yet another incident, a Glasgow attendant was attacked with paint. The report says: “Whilst on duty employee heard youths shouting abuse at them and throwing a missile of green paint nearly hitting them.”
Other cases include “Employee was on his beat, when a group of youths threw a water balloon at employee, soaking his trousers” and “Employee was hit by an open beer can on his right shoulder. He was also showered with beer, unable to identify culprit.”
In South Lanarkshire in 2006, “someone threw a water filled balloon at Parking Attendant from the flats above the shops, the water balloon missed Parking Attendant but almost struck a member of the public”.
The same council reports in 2009 that a “dog ran out of house and bit PA on the back of the leg”.
In Perth and Kinross in 2010 a member of the public, “threw ticket on ground and told PA to stick it in a bodily orifice”.
The highest number of assaults happened in Glasgow with a total of 522. Edinburgh was not far behind with 452 cases.
Perth and Kinross also saw 149 incidents taking place, South Lanarkshire 55, Dundee 44 and Stirling 10. Aberdeen, surprisingly, said it had only two incidents.-
And some parts of Scotland claimed it was totally safe for wardens to work there.
Dumfries and Galloway, Moray, Orkney and South Ayrshire all said there had been no reported attacks on parking attendants in the past five years.
The body that represents parking warden firms last night condemned the “worrying” increase in attacks.
A spokeswoman for the British Parking Association said: “There is never any excuse for aggressive or violent behaviour towards them.
“We believe attendants should enjoy the same protection in law as police officers whilst undertaking their public duties. We have urged the Scottish Government to support this.”
A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said they “treat any reports of such incidents extremely seriously and will robustly deal with anyone found to be responsible”.
He added: “Every member of the public has the right to work without fear of assault or intimidation.”
Motorists’ organisation the AA also condemned the attacks. Paul Watters, head of roads policy at the AA, said: “There is absolutely no excuse for anything like this. They are only doing their jobs.
“Obviously there are some jobsworths out there but even a jobsworth should not be assaulted verbally or physically.
“It’s criminality – it’s no different to a Friday night brawl in the pub. It’s anti-social and it’s violent.”
Gary Webb from NSL, which operates Edinburgh’s parking attendants, said: “We recognise the dangers that attendants may face. We heavily invest in conflict management training with our staff.”