The statistics, which were obtained by the Daily Mail under the Freedom of Information Act, show attacks on refuse collectors has risen from 159 in 2013 to 309 in 2016.
The newspaper reports that refuse teams have been bombarded with waste, threatened and physically assaulted.
In specific incidences the paper cites refuse workers have been head-butted in Dudley, threatened with a Samurai sword in Birmingham and even threatened with a gun in Manchester.
Heather Wakefield, head of local government at Unison – “Residents might feel irritated that their bins are not being emptied as often or that they now have to pay for garden waste to be taken away, but it’s not the fault of refuse collectors nor that of the local authority.”
The newspaper put the rise in attacks down to “bin rage”. It states: “Binmen are being physically abused in record numbers by homeowners infuriated with complex recycling rules and restrictive rubbish quotas.”
The Local Government Authority (LGA) told the newspaper that it wants attackers to serve prison sentences
Heather Wakefield, head of local government at Unison, said: “Residents might feel irritated that their bins are not being emptied as often or that they now have to pay for garden waste to be taken away, but it’s not the fault of refuse collectors nor that of the local authority.”
An LGA spokesman said: “The LGA’s polling shows more than eight in ten of the public are happy with the way their bins are collected.”
Attacks On Binmen
In July last year, Biffa binmen featured on an ITV documentary, Britain Sees Red: Caught On Camera – the first of the two-part programme that featured Biffa crews on the Isle of Wight telling their stories about encountering angry members of the public.
The broadcast also featured several video clips recorded by Biffa collection vehicles, and which show dangerous driving around collection vehicles and crews, as well as verbal and physical abuse directed at them.
The increase in these dangers led Biffa to mount local campaigns to ask drivers to be patient and considerate when they encounter crews out doing their job. These campaigns, backed up by on-board video cameras, have led to a number of prosecutions.
Biffa – “We appeal to residents not to take out their frustration, whatever the cause or reason, on our staff, and will always inform the police of any such incidents.”
A spokesman for Biffa’s Municipal division, which provides recycling, refuse and cleansing services for over 50 local authorities across Britain, said: “Our staff make around three million collections every week from nearly three million households, and clean many hundreds of miles of streets, roads and beaches.
“It’s commonly acknowledged as dangerous work – and it’s being made more dangerous by a really worrying increase in aggression towards our crews. They’re only trying to do the job that people want them to do.”
Responding to an incident last year, where a Biffa refuse collection worker was allegedly punched by a member of the public in Middlesbrough, a spokesman for Biffa said: “There have been lots of verbal threats towards our crews, but this is the first physical assault.
“We deplore any and all acts of aggression towards Biffa crew who provide an important service for the Middlesbrough community.
“We appeal to residents not to take out their frustration, whatever the cause or reason, on our staff, and will always inform the police of any such incidents.”