Delivering Christmas cards probably isn’t seen as a dangerous job – so you may be surprised to hear there are 250-300 incidents of serious violence against Royal Mail postal workers every year. My sister-in-law’s brother is one of these statistics – having been attacked for the second time by two thugs using a knuckle duster to smash up his face.
A study by Hemming in 1996 (‘Violence and abuse at work: the experience of Royal Mail delivery officers in London’, International Journal of Risk, Security and Crime Prevention, vol. 1, no.4, pp. 267-275) found “the most likely victims of violence are female, employees who are working in an unfamiliar location, and those who are delivering in an area with a high crime rate”.
None of these criteria applied in the above case – indeed, it appears to have been a deliberate target by the same attackers following the earlier assault on a route in an affluent area of North London where many famous people live.
But there is very little public or even media recognition of this issue – indeed, it is hard to find any reference on the Royal Mail website or the wider Internet to such incidents. There is a company policy, and counselling for those attacked is available, but perhaps it is time for a wider public relations campaign to support the postal delivery staff and other lone workers before someone like the guy I know is killed whilst simply putting Christmas cards through letter boxes.