SEVERAL council staff and contractors doing vital work during the coronavirus lockdown have been abused by members of the public. 

The abuse has led to Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) leader Paul Bettison urging residents to treat those in frontline services with kindness. 

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He said: “Our staff and our contractors’ staff are committed to helping those in need, whether it’s providing essential social care services or emptying bins. 

“However, we also have a wider duty to ensure the borough remains a safe and pleasant place to live and so many of our staff are continuing to do essential day-to-day tasks like cutting the grass and maintaining roads while observing social distancing rules.  

“With this in mind, I would urge our residents to choose to be kind to council staff and contractors, whatever job they are doing, so they can continue to work for us all to ensure our borough remains as safe as possible.”

Despite some staff being subject to verbal abuse and threats, the council says the response to council staff working in care roles and frontline services has been “overwhelming.” 

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More than a thousand employees are working from home to keep key services running throughout the pandemic.

Dozens have been retrained and reassigned to new roles to help those teams which care for Bracknell Forest’s most vulnerable people. 

Some have been moved to help Forestcare, the 24/7 home care hotline elderly and isolated residents use if they are in need of assistance. 

Cllr Bettison said BFC’s employees have shown a “true resilience” and “determination” to adapt to a new way of working. 

Despite their hard-work, Cllr Bettison said it is often those frontline staff who have to give people “all the bad news they don’t want to hear” that get abuse. 

He added: “People are frustrated because nobody living has gone through what we are going through now so many people are unaware of how they’re going to cope. 

“It’s understandable that members of the public are anxious and when people are anxious they get confused, and flustered and embarrassed, so many of their reactions then turn to anger. 

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“Unfortunately, the person they vent their anger on is the poor frontline member of staff who didn’t make the rules. 

“It’s a pointless exercise getting angry with them and shouting at them.

“We can’t allow our staff to be abused like that. We will stand behind them when the abuse gets to such a level that something has to be done.”