DVSA to tackle assaults on staff

DVSA are taking tough action against those who physically or verbally assault employees.

The agency report more than 300 driving examiners, vehicle testers and roadside enforcement staff suffered physical or verbal abuse while doing their jobs.

This was an increase of more than 50% on the previous year (198).

DVSA’s 4,600 employees include people who test learners, staff who help keep vehicles safe through MOTs and annual tests and those who take unsafe drivers and vehicles off the roads.

To stop assaults aimed towards their staff, the agency is launching a campaign to get people to report them and showing what action DVSA will take. This includes:

referring all threat, physical assault and ‘driving away’ incidents to the police
making abusive learner drivers take their next test elsewhere
trialling body-worn cameras for front line staff
referring abuse from driving instructors to the Registrar; and
including evidence of abuse from commercial drivers and operators as part of any investigation for Traffic Commissioners.

DVSA Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, said: “I am immensely proud of my colleagues at DVSA, all of whom work incredibly hard to help you stay safe on Britain’s roads. We do not tolerate anyone abusing, threatening or assaulting them.

“Our message is clear – whatever has happened, don’t take it out on our staff. If you do, we’ll press for the strongest possible penalties.”

Screamed profanity and threats to kill, as well as damaging cars and offices, and serious physical assaults are just a few of the variety of ways DVSA are seeing their staff put through.

Driving examiners remain the number one target sometimes suffering abuse, threats or attacks from people who fail the driving test.

The DVSA reported that One learner, after committing a number of serious errors and being asked to bring the vehicle to a safe stop, resorted instead to swearing at the examiner and driving wildly across a dual carriageway. Luckily, the examiner was able to use dual controls to bring the car to a safe stop.

The learner is now banned from that test centre and any future test will have to be taken under supervision.

Vehicle examiners and roadside enforcement staff are also being targeted.

Recently a driver and operator from a Shropshire scaffolding firm made a false claim against a member of DVSA staff who had caught the firm committing tachograph offences.

The Traffic Commissioner for Wales, Nick Jones, rejected the firm’s accusation and concluded that the “appalling behaviour” of the driver had been condoned by his “irresponsible” employer and resulted in a “significantly disproportionate” complaint made against an experienced traffic examiner.

Mr Jones said: “My fellow traffic commissioners and I welcome the agency’s campaign to tackle the unacceptable abuse which staff may face whilst carrying out their professional duties.”

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