Veolia is to launch its award-winning StreetKind campaign in Buckinghamshire.
During the pandemic, essential services and the key workers who provided them were celebrated, but since then over half of public-facing staff have reported a rise in both verbal and physical abuse. Veolia is taking a stand after reports from frontline staff more than doubled across the UK.
Veolia, in partnership with Buckinghamshire Council and Thames Valley Police have launched StreetKind to tackle this abuse. This award winning campaign thanks residents who recognise the hard work of their teams and takes stronger action against those who abuse or endanger their staff. Whilst the majority of people are respectful and kind to frontline staff, a rise in the most serious cases of physical and verbal abuse has led to a new commitment from the company to pursue more criminal prosecutions.
The campaign, which recently won Safety Initiative of the Year at the Awards for Excellence in Recycling and Waste Management, focuses on building a safe workplace and includes a comprehensive training programme to support staff to defuse situations, handle instances effectively and know how and when to involve the police. Frustration at being stuck behind a collection vehicle or at queues at recycling sites are not reasons to abuse key workers and the company is reaffirming its support to staff who are victims of abuse.
Richard Hulland, Veolia’s Chief Risk & Assurance Officer, Northern Europe, said: ‘I talk to our people on a regular basis and they are passionate about their work and their teams, but hearing their stories of abuse has been increasingly distressing. No one should be abused simply for doing their job and we’re determined to combat this unacceptable trend. That’s why I was delighted to see our StreetKind campaign win at this year’s Awards for Excellence.
As well as appealing to the public to show their appreciation for our teams, our campaign focuses on training and support for our employees to respond to incidents. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our teams and will take the most serious action for the most serious attacks, including criminal prosecutions, in order to build a safer workplace environment for our colleagues.‘
Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment at Buckinghamshire Council, said: ‘Frontline staff providing essential services deserve our utmost respect and appreciation, and any form of verbal or physical abuse towards them is completely unacceptable. This includes many Buckinghamshire Council staff who perform vital frontline roles supporting the local community.
We stand firmly behind Veolia’s StreetKind campaign, which highlights the importance of treating key workers with kindness and respect. To that end, we are committed to working closely with Veolia to address any incidents of abuse and to ensure that all frontline staff can carry out their roles safely and without fear.‘
Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Barber said: ‘I am delighted to support the StreetKind campaign. Abusive and aggressive behaviour is unacceptable and no-one should find themselves threatened at work. My Crimefighters campaign will see more police officers in local neighbourhood teams, increasing visibility and the work that is being done to make it easier to report crimes and concerns to the police will help Thames Valley be more proactive in dealing with these issues.‘
StreetKind is launching across the country and will be localised to each area. In Buckinghamshire, the focus will be on our collections and street cleansing crews who work hard to deliver an essential service to residents in the area.
*Source of article : Press release from Veolia.