The recorded physical and verbal abuse against Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) staff has risen by 50% in the space of a year, with 240 recorded cases in 2016, versus 180 a year earlier. The majority of these cases are reportedly driving test examiners being attacked by failed candidates, leading to the possible introduction of body cameras in an appointed crackdown.
As well as test examiners, abuse to other DVSA staff such as roadside enforcement officers and vehicles testers has been steadily on the rise while they are performing their jobs. The trial of the body cameras is to be used on the roadside workers initially, and then potentially transferred for use to the driving test examiners if successful.
DVSA chief exec Garth Llewellyn has commented on the proposed body camera trial saying “We do not tolerate anyone abusing, threatening or assaulting them. 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."
The RAC has called the rise in the physical and verbal abuse ‘disappointing’. With road safety spokesman Pete Williams praising the work of the DVSA staff, and the hardline reaction to an undeserved rise in abuse, commenting; "It's therefore disappointing to see such a marked increase in the level of verbal and physical abuse they are encountering from the very people they are trying to help. The majority of UK drivers and road users will wholeheartedly support a zero-tolerance approach to such behaviour."