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The City of London Corporation is urging visitors to its green spaces to treat its staff with respect after a recent spate of abusive incidents. The governing body’s open spaces, including Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest and West Ham Park have seen an increase in visitors during...

The City of London Corporation is urging visitors to its green spaces to treat its staff with respect after a recent spate of abusive incidents.

The governing body’s open spaces, including Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest and West Ham Park have seen an increase in visitors during the coronavirus pandemic.

Alongside the rise in visitors, it has seen an an increasing number of incidents of both physical and verbal assault on staff about a number of issues including the closure of facilities in line with government guidelines. For example, a member of staff at Hampstead Heath was verbally assaulted last week following the closure of the Men’s Bathing Pond.

Its staff are being supported and encouraged to report all incidents so they can be investigated, and additional control measures are being introduced. The City Corporation has updated signage at its open spaces in line with the latest government guidance.

Londoners are still allowed to exercise once per day in their local area – either alone, with one other person or their household or support bubble – as part of the new lockdown restrictions. Social distancing should be maintained when around other people. Further information is available here.

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The local authority owns and manages 11,000 acres of green space in London and south east England – including Hampstead Heath, Epping Forest and Burnham Beeches – and over 200 smaller ones in the Square Mile.

Chairman of the City’s Open Spaces and City Gardens Committee, Oliver Sells QC, said: “Our open spaces play a crucial role in supporting the local community’s physical and mental health – now more so than ever.

“Lockdowns are without a doubt stressful for all involved, with everyone being affected in different ways.  We strongly urge people to respect our employees, from rangers to toilet cleaners, who are working exceptionally hard to keep all of our sites safe for everyone to enjoy. They should be able to work without abuse.

“Spending time outdoors and learning about nature can lead to a dramatic improvement in both health and wellbeing at this time but please remember to act responsibly.”

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