Attacks on council rangers ‘widespread’

A series of violent attacks on council parking officers in western Sydney has sparked calls for tougher penalties, with council saying the latest incident is symptomatic of an industry-wide problem.

In an assault on April 9, a Liverpool Council ranger was knocked out when he was allegedly punched to the ground by the occupant of a car, requiring surgery for serious facial injuries. Police later arrested a man in relation to the attack and he is due to appear in court again in July.

It follows attacks on four rangers over three days in the Liverpool CBD last October.

Tougher penalties

The state’s local government peak LGNSW and Liverpool Council have both backed union calls for tougher penalties to bring assaults on council rangers in line with assaults on police officers.

Violence against parking officers is a widespread problem, Liverpool Council’s CEO Kiersten Fishburn told Government News.

“People going about their daily work should not have to fear for their safety, nor should they be subject to abuse for carrying out an important function in our society,” she said.

Ms Fishburn said council has been working with the United Services Union to improve the safety of staff.

USU General Secretary Graeme Kelly says the union wants to see penalties for assaulting council officers increased to match the maximum 14-year-sentence for assaults on police.

“Unfortunately, attacks like these are becoming all too common, with rangers at councils across the state suffering threats, abuse, and even violence while trying to go about their duty. The targeting of parking officers is an industry-wide issue,” he said.

“The NSW Government needs to send a clear message to the community that there is zero tolerance for violence towards council officers, and the best way to do that is to legislate to bring the punishments in line with those for assaulting police.

There have been two recorded incidents of assault at council depot premises in 2018, according to the NSW crime statistic bureau BOCSAR,  however the data doesn’t provide details of the occupation of those involved.

NT laws protect emergency workers

The call for tougher penalties in NSW comes after the passing of legislation in the Northern Territory in March that increases penalties for people who assault Fire and Rescue, Emergency Services and St John Ambulance workers.

Under the new laws, the penalty for assaulting an emergency worker will be the same as for assaulting a police officer, Government News reported last month.

Thirty-five ambulance paramedics were assaulted last year, Attorney General Natasha Fyles said.

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6 thoughts on “Attacks on council rangers ‘widespread’

  1. Council Parking Rangers are performing an essential regulatory service to the communities where they are employed by their Local Government Council. They should be afforded the same respect and protection as the NSW Police Service, and should not be the targets of thugs who are issued with parking tickets when they breach the parking regulations. I totally agree with the United Services Union’s General Secretary, Graeme Kelly that the penalty for those that assault Council Parking Rangers in the course of their duties must face the same penalties as that apply for the NSW Police Service.

    1. I sympathise and agree that Council Rangers & Parking Officers need to be protected from thugs and harassment, I dont believe heavier penalties in isolation will do anything to deter assault on Rangers.
      This is a community and social problem, it comes down to a lack of respect in the Community and widespread anti social behaviour.
      Residents should see Rangers as playing a role in protecting our Community environment but there is often no relationship between Rangers and the Community.
      Part of the problem is the way Council Managers organise their work, it woul be better if Rangers were seen not only as enforcing regulations but as educators also.
      It would also help if Rangers had responsibility for a limited geographic area where they could build a relationship between themselves, residents and the local business people.
      I tried to raise some of these ideas with a GM on the former Auburn Council and was told “Rangers are failed wannabe coppers and they dont want to be Community Liaison Officers”, I dont agree and have often found Council Rangers to be fairly intelligent people if they are given half a chance.
      The other problem is the most recent round of Council Amalgamations where Councils are becoming further estranged from the residents they are supposed to represent, the idea that bigger is better is proving to be a real failure and unfortunately Council Rangers and other Staff wear the consequences of these failed policies.
      I also think we have to use public shaming as a tool to combat anti social behaviour and we could learn a few things from Singapore, you wont find any illegal dumping of rubbish, no spitting on the street and most of all you will find absolutely clean streets.
      No simple solution to Rangers being assaulted.

  2. It has been my privilege to work with local councils and their staff, especially rangers and parking officers, over the past 20 years in violence prevention. There is always a small percentage of the public, who not matter how you want to help them and defuse their concerns, will try to assault. At Safety Strategies we have developed a highly effective method of preventing assault. We invite any local councils or their staff to contact us to find out more about how these assaults and injuries can be prevented.

  3. Mobile Licence Plate Recognition is the solution. The vehicle detects illegal parking and overstays automatically without the need for officer intervention with the motoring public. Infringement notices can be mailed out.
    The technology keeps Council officers safe and potentially re-deployed in less controversial duties that are more customer service orientated.

  4. Have you heard of Inspectorless automated camera parking technology? This technology has helped local councils in South Australia to completely automate the process of enforcing and increasing parking turnover without an inspector being onsite. Inspectors will be in a safe office environment to perform their enforcement duties remotely.

  5. Agree rangers carry out an essential role but like many areas of employment there are always people that should not be given a pencil as they may confuse it with intellect.

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