Machetes and gun threats: Sickening abuse Sheffield highway workers face for doing their job

Sheffield highway workers have had machetes and guns pointed at them by impatient drivers over delays caused by maintenance work while carrying out their work last year.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 9:20 am

Revealing the shocking instances, Principal Operations Manager at Streets Ahead Peter Hancock said these extreme behaviours were some of the incidents faced by the council employees who often become subject of abuse.

But without hard evidence, catching the culprits becomes an uphill task for both Amey and the police, he said.

And this is the main reason the workers are now fitted with body cameras beginning early April.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

An Amey worker with the body cam fitted on their jacket. Picture by Sheffield City Council

Mr Hancock said: "It's been absolutely unbelievable what these guys have to put up with it.

"People pulling up to the closures, shouting abuse at the guys...we have had guys assaulted on site and pointed at with machetes and pulled guns on them.

"They're the real extremes but this kind of abusive behaviour happens to our guys every day.

"They're just out there doing their job and they have to close the road so they can work safely while trying to improve the infrastructure for Sheffield and for the people of Sheffield.

A sign warning drivers that CCTV is in operation. Picture by Sheffield City Council

"Nobody should be treated that way, yet they are."

He said in any event where the workers are being abused and caught on camera, the footage will be sent directly to the police.

"It's a shame that it comes to this, but we have to protect our guys somehow," he said.

In December last year, the council revealed that some drivers would throw cones and barriers at the employees, shouting abuse, spitting and mounting pavements in fits of road rage.

The body cameras are being worn by the workers beginning April. Picture by Sheffield City Council

But Mr Hancock said being spat at "is depressingly normal" for the workers.

"Like I said, the body cameras are there for a reason. We have to close the road with the diversion in place and it's not their fault. They are just doing their jobs.

"Ultimately, what we are trying to do is to get the message out that we are not going to tolerate this behaviour and we are not going to put up with it," he said.

It has been reported previously that the workers would be wearing body cameras to protect themselves as resurfacing work began earlier this month.