“Appalling” figures on public sector assaults

UNISON say 27,775 assaults on public sector staff occurred last year

ALMOST 28,000 public-sector workers in Scotland were violently assaulted last year.

The “appalling” figure was uncovered by UNISON’s annual violence at work survey.

Attacks on NHS staff accounted for 13,552 incidents, a fall of 1281 on the previous year, while assaults on council workers increased to 12,168 from 11, 388.

In total 27,775 incidents were recorded.

UNISON Scottish Organiser Dave Watson said: “These figures highlight an appalling level of violent incidents perpetrated on staff who are simply doing their job. While some employers are taking this issue seriously, others are not doing enough.”


“There are also early signs that spending cuts are impacting on the number of violent incidents. 21,000 job losses mean that staff are being stretched thinly in many public services, particularly in local government. This means less support for staff in high risk areas. UNISON will be undertaking further work to monitor this in the coming year.”

Last year 280 people were convicted under  the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Act, which makes it illegal to stop the emergency services from doing their job.

UNISON claim the Act has limited scope and have campaigned for stronger legislation to protect public service workers.

Dave Watson said: “The Scottish Government opposed measures to strengthen the law in this area when Hugh Henry MSP proposed the Protection of Workers Bill.

“There is a level of complacency over violence in the workplace that workers in the front line find bewildering.

“We need a combination of efficient recording, effective workplace measures, monitoring and stronger legislation to protect workers from unacceptable levels of violence”