A campaign aiming to stop assaults on DVSA staff has been launched following claims that the agency has seen a 50% surge in incidences of abuse.
The DVSA said that between April 2016 and March 2017, more than 300 vehicle testers, roadside enforcement staff and driving examiners suffered physical or verbal abuse while doing their jobs.
Attacks on staff ranged from screamed profanity and threats to kill, to damaging staff cars and offices and serious physical assaults.
Although driving examiners remain the number one target, vehicle examiners and enforcement staff are also being bullied.
The DVSA said in one incident, a driver and an operator of a Shropshire scaffolding firm made a false claim against a member of staff who had caught the company committing tachograph offences.
In June, traffic commissioner (TC)Nick Jones reminded operators and drivers that DVSA staff have the right to carry out their role without fear of harassment and abuse, after a driver became aggressive during a spot check.
Some enforcement staff have now taken to wearing body-worn cameras to capture evidence of abuse.
The campaign aims to encourage people to report assaults, as well as highlighting what action the DVSA will take. This includes referring all assaults and incidents to the police and including evidence of abuse as part of any investigation for the traffic commissioners.
Gareth Llewellyn, DVSA chief executive, said: “We do not tolerate anyone abusing, threatening or assaulting [staff].
“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.”
TC 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.”