Recycling staff to issue bans on violent customers

Aberdeenshire Council has warned that it will ban customers from visiting recycling centres if they are violent or aggressive.

It said staff had experienced an increase in violence and aggression at the council facilities so they would now have the power to issue temporary or permanent bans.

In 2023, there were 26 reported incidents of violence or aggression towards staff across the entire waste and recycling service.

Fifteen of the incidents took place at household recycling centres.

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

'No excuse for violence'

Alan Turner, chairman of the council’s infrastructure services committee, said the council had a "strict zero tolerance policy" regarding the safety of its staff.

"It is only right that bans can be issued to ensure this," he said. "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.”

The council said any bans would be determined based on the seriousness of the incident.

But if police were called to a serious incident, the ban would be immediate.

The committee's vice chairwoman 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.”