The number of violent incidents against Anglesey council staff recorded by the local authority has jumped by more than 50% over the past two years.

A report presented to the council’s audit committee showed that, in 2018/19, there were 287 such incidents reported, including both physical and verbal attacks.

This compared to 189 reported in 2016/17, with officers offering assurances that action was already being taken to protect staff and councillors.

Of the latest figures, 61 were recorded as physical assaults, with the vast majority taking place within schools between pupils, and six incidents recording a council employee being struck.

There were another 103 incidents where  a member of the public was verbally abusive to staff members, the majority of which took place during telephone conversations.

The remaining 123 incidents involved people who did not have the mental capacity to cause harm, with the report noting: “With regard to violence and aggression, the highest incidents are with regard to challenging behaviour where the intent to harm may not be present.

“Abuse from members of the public is a significant figure. This mainly relates to telephone calls but also includes some face to face incidents.

“This could be attributed to the current economic climate, possible pressures of society and increased demands on the service from the council.”

Addressing a meeting of the audit committee on Tuesday, Cllr Dylan Rees said that it would be useful to receive a further breakdown.

“I’m sure that quite a number, perhaps, would relate to tenants who sometimes can be very abusive on the phone which can more often than not be a breach of their tenancy agreement,” he said.

“Are we satisfied that when staff are receiving verbal attacks that they are then given the support that they need?”

Stephen Nicol, the corporate health and safety advisor, said that line managers were on hand to offer support following such incidents, with staff being encouraged to report any major incidents to police.

Chief executive Dr Gwynne Jones added that staff have the right to end calls where members of the public are being abusive, and repeat offenders’ files will have a mark made against them.

Cllr Bob Llewelyn Jones said he wanted to see training offered to councillors to help defend themselves.

“In my view, it’s important these days for councillors or anyone in the public service as we are all at risk,” he said.

“It would be wise to sort out some training in the near future.

“After all, we are all out there knocking doors, where it can be even worse for young women of course.”

Cllr John Griffith, a former police officer, added: “I agree that it’s imperative that we protect all council staff, particularly those on the front line, who can often come across some threatening people.

“But what concerns me is how many were actually reported to police.

“If people are threatened or assaulted then we must support our staff and prosecute where necessary.”