HC Deb 17 December 2001 vol 377 cc156-7W
Sir Teddy Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many employees of the Benefits Agency and job centres have been assaulted at work in each of the past three years; and what impact the introduction of Job Centre Plus offices has had on the level of assaults. [23240]

Mr. Nicholas Brown

For information on incidents in the Benefits Agency and Jobcentres I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mrs. Curtis-Thomas) on 20 November 2001,Official Report, column 176W.

We estimate that over a quarter of a million people have passed through the Jobcentre Plus pathfinder offices during the first month of their operation. To date there have been no serious incidents in these offices. While it is still early days, this experience from the Jobcentre Plus pathfinder offices so far confirms our belief that the new service and the new environment which we are offering in these offices promotes better behaviour in our customers. This, along with improved risk management arrangements, will we believe lead to fewer incidents of verbal and physical assaults on staff.

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