ASSAULTS on TV licence officers have doubled with incidents including one who was threatened with a hammer and another who had a TV thrown at him, the licensing authority has said.
In the last financial year, 89 enquiry officers have been physically assaulted – up from 37 in the previous year, TV Licensing said.
A further 360 officers have been threatened and verbally abused in incidents in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and Dundee.
One officer was threatened with a hammer in Dundee, while another was verbally abused and threatened with violence in Glasgow.
TV Licensing said many officers have had death threats made to them after knocking on doors, while others have been punched and spat at, had TVs thrown at them and also been filmed whilst being abused, with clips posted on YouTube.
Some officers have required counselling following attacks.
One officer from Edinburgh said: “I’ve faced verbal abuse, been filmed, pushed, followed on foot for several hundred yards – shouting abuse in a packed street. I’ve been followed and chased in a car for several miles.”
Regional manager Colin Bright said: “On one occasion, myself and a colleague were involved in a physical attack.
“The abuse does affect your home life, because, in some cases, people are filming your car registration or putting your name online, so it’s in the back of your mind that there’s a chance you could be approached by a stranger in public.”
Colin Jones, TV Licensing field operations director, said: “The threats our officers can receive when they are just trying to carry out their role is completely unacceptable. Those who attack them seem to forget they are human beings.
“They do a great job, remaining professional and courteous in sometimes very challenging circumstances and we do everything we can to support them. This includes reporting serious threats and abuse to the police.”
TV Licensing has highlighted the incidents as part of Anti-Bullying Month, and has launched a campaign to tackle the increasing problem.
Police Scotland, the Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA) and the Scottish Taxi Federation have backed the campaign.
Superintendent Brian Hughes, from Police Scotland’s Licensing & Violence Reduction Division, said: “Police Scotland is committed to keeping people safe and everybody should be able to do their job safely and without fear of violence.”