TRAFFIC wardens are physically attacked or verbally abused once a fortnight in Wiltshire.

Data obtained by the Journal showed 113 such incidents across the county over past five years.

A third of these happened in Salisbury, where almost half of all parking tickets issued in Wiltshire are dished out.

Wiltshire Council says it plans to equip traffic wardens with body-worn cameras in a bid to keep them safe on the county’s streets.

The devices, already used by Wiltshire Police officers, will also help ensure wardens give tickets out fairly.

It is hoped the new technology will help provide better evidence and speed up the appeals process.

The council says the threat to its traffic wardens, or civil enforcement officers, as they are officially known, is rising.

It says many other councils have already introduced body-worn cameras to protect those out on patrol.

But data obtained by the Journal under the Freedom of Information Act showed no upward or downward trend in the number of reported attacks in Wiltshire over the past five years.

John Drake, Unison regional organiser for Wiltshire said: “It is unacceptable that any public service worker faces abuse, let alone a physical attack, in the course of their job.

“Our members tell us of the stress and fear they feel after an incident at work. The effects can last for months.

“No matter how annoying being caught for a parking offence is, traffic wardens are doing an important job.

“They deserve to be treated with as much respect as anyone else in public services. Wiltshire Council ought to make sure staff have the right training and support to deal with these abusive situations when they occur.”

The figures reveal that of 113 incidents recorded countywide, 96 were verbal and 17 were physical. The vast majority were reported to the police.

Amesbury, Mere and Tidworth each recorded just one incident of verbal abuse over the past five years.

A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “It is never acceptable to verbally or physically abuse anyone.

“Our civil enforcement officers perform a valuable service to ensure our roads are safer and to reduce congestion, and it is abhorrent that people behave this way towards them.

“The message is, if you are not parked in accordance with the local traffic orders, you could receive a penalty.”