Reports of abuse against road workers reaches new high in Southampton

  • ITV Meridian's Sally Simmonds reports from Southampton.

The amount of roadworks has gone up by at least 10% over the last five years. But what's also soared is the level of abuse aimed at roadworkers.

In Southampton, half of staff say they've experienced abuse ranging from verbal - to physical - and it can happen a number of times a day.

Some workers have reported being physically threatened and having objects thrown at them such as barriers and traffic cones.

Brenton McClean, a Reactive Maintenance Supervisor in Southampton has experienced abuse throughout his career and says it still gets to him: "It's going to affect anybody, especially with their mental health."

He's heard of incidents involving a baseball bat and even a saw.

Brenton McClean resigned to the racial slurs Credit: ITV News Meridian

Mr McClean says he has received nasty comments and has since resigned.

He said: "They still affect me to this day, but I've learnt to control my emotions."

Southampton city council says drivers are ignoring road workers and choosing to mount pavements in order to avoid road closures.

In a statement a spokesperson for the authority said: "Half of staff have reported a case of abuse in the last 12 months with a further 58% having been abused at least monthly."

  • Brenton McClean, a Reactive Maintenance Supervisor in Southampton

The council is going to increase CCTV and body cameras, to protect the public from the machinery on site, and the workers from being attacked with their tools.

Eamonn Keogh, Southampton City Council said: "There's equipment around, they could easily pick up a piece of equipment and use that as a weapon.

"We need to make sure that these sites are properly protected."

National Highways say they are taking away most roadworks on motorways and major roads for Christmas.

Southampton City Council advises people to report incidents to the police.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...