Violent customers banned from recycling centres after rise in incidents

Aberdeenshire Council staff can now issue temporary or permanent bans as a result of a huge rise in incidents.

Violent customers could be banned from Aberdeenshire recycling centres after huge rise in incidents  iStock

Violent or aggressive customers using household recycling centres can now be banned from using the services after incidents rose sixfold.

Aberdeenshire Council staff have experienced an increase in violence and aggression at household recycling centres and can now issue temporary or permanent bans as a result. 

In 2023, there were 26 reported incidents of violence or aggression towards staff across the whole waste and recycling service – the equivalent of one every other week. 

Of the incidents, 15 took place at household recycling centres. 

Only four incidents were reported at household recycling centres in 2022, all of which were verbal abuse. 

The ban will be determined based on the seriousness of the incident. In the event of the police being called for a serious incident, the ban will be immediate.  

Councillor Alan Turner, chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC), said: “Aberdeenshire Council has a strict zero tolerance policy regarding the safety of its staff. It is only right that bans can be issued to ensure this. Nobody deserves to face this type of behaviour. We should instead recognise the valuable contribution that our recycling centre staff make on our behalf every day.” 

ISC vice chair councillor Isobel Davidson said: “There is no excuse for violence or aggression. Front line staff don’t make the rules; they are there to provide a valuable service and deserve to do so in a safe environment. It’s time to cut out this unacceptable behaviour and ban those who are unable to conduct themselves responsibly.” 

The ability to ban individuals for violent or aggressive behaviour was added to the council’s Recycling Centre Policy at the recent Infrastructure Services Committee on Thursday June 20 2024.

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