VERBAL abuse aimed at lollipop men and women trying to help children cross the road has increased, according to Hampshire County Council.

A campaign to crack down on anyone abusing School Crossing Patrol people – and also appealing to road users to be patient and remain calm – has been launched by the council, and it is being supported by Hampshire Constabulary, after a rise in the number of incidents.

These include drivers speaking aggressively to, and swearing at, the lollipop men and women, while they are carrying out their duty to ensure children and adults cross the road safely.

Drivers are legally obliged to obey signals and signs used by School Crossing Patrols as part of the Road Traffic Act 1988. Anyone prosecuted could face a fine of up to £1,000 and three penalty points on their licence.

Inspector Jon Snook, from Hampshire Constabulary, said: “School crossing patrols provide an invaluable service, escorting children across busy roads to school safely.

“For these men and women to be abused, intimidated or assaulted in this manner, and in front of young children, is simply unacceptable.

“We will not tolerate any incidents of aggression and intimidation, especially when the victim is simply trying to do their job.

“The police will deal with all such offences involving school crossing patrols, and anyone assaulting patrols could be arrested and placed before the court.”

Councillor Mel Kendal, executive member for environment and transport at the county council, said: “It’s appalling to hear reports of verbal abuse in any situation, but particularly so when those targeted are members of staff doing their job in helping to keep people safe as they walk to and from school.

“Thankfully, the majority of drivers are courteous and stop when requested, but there are those who seem to think it is acceptable to take out their frustrations on the county council’s staff, and worse still, through their inconsiderate actions, these drivers are potentially putting young lives at risk.”