SOUTHAMPTON traffic wardens have been barraged with abuse from members of the public for just doing their job.

Council chiefs have received reports of offensive behaviour directed against employees paid to enforce rules that aim to combat dangerous and illegal parking.

The perpetrators have been met with criticism from both Southampton City Council (SCC) and others, with one Southampton MP saying there is "no excuse" for any form of abuse.

But one Southampton councillor is calling on the City Council to do more and "send a clear message" to the abusers.

Councillor Steve Leggett, Cabinet Member for Green City & Place, said: “We would like to make clear that abuse is never acceptable. The officers are carrying out a vital role in supporting our residents and we have a duty of care to maintain enforcement of yellow lines, zig zags, disabled bays and much more.

"We do not expect our teams to tolerate abuse from individuals who ignore regulations, especially during the current lockdown."

He added that "any unacceptable instances of abuse" will be reported to the police.

"We have had to do this on a number of occasions this year," he said.

"And we hope this will send a message that Southampton will not accept any form of abuse towards its employees.”

A Southampton MP said anyone convicted of being abusive towards traffic wardens in the city should be dealt with "severely" by the courts.

Royston Smith, Tory MP for Southampton Itchen, said: "Abuse of anyone is unacceptable but more so when they are just doing their job.

"I talked to an enforcement officer recently about the level of abuse they are receiving and frankly, there can be no excuse for it.

"I know the police will be doing what they can to bring any perpetrators to justice and I hope that anyone who is found guilty is dealt with severely.”

Steven Galton, Millbrook ward councillor, added that it is "never okay" to abuse someone doing their job.

He told the Daily Echo: "Should there still be incidents, despite the best attempt to avoid them, then we need to fully support our workforce in every conceivable way.

"This includes personally supporting any victim, in any way they need, and ensuring the Council reports all unacceptably threatening or abusive incidents to the police.

"The Council needs to send a clear message to anyone who thinks it is fine to abuse or threaten staff – it isn’t and we will not accept it."

The Daily Echo has asked SCC what abuse traffic wardens have faced, but they did not respond.