Hampstead Heath bosses urge public not to abuse staff

Swimmers return to Hampstead Heath's Mixed Pond in July. Picture: Aaron Chown / PA

Swimmers return to Hampstead Heath's Mixed Pond in July 2020. - Credit: PA/Aaron Chown

Hampstead Heath bosses have called on visitors to show more respect to its staff after what they called a "recent spate of abusive incidents". 

The City of London Corporation (CoLC), which runs the Heath, Highgate Wood and Queen's Park along with places like Epping Forest and West Ham Park, said increasing visitor numbers had seen a corresponding increase in incidents of physical or verbal assault towards its employees.

The CoLC said the closure of its facilities — such as the Heath bathing ponds and athletics track — had been the cause of at least some of the abusive behaviour, and cited an incident last week when it said a member of staff had been verbally assaulted at the Highgate Men's Pond. 

Oliver Sells QC, who chairs the CoLC's Open Spaces committee said places like the Heath played a "crucial role" supporting the community's mental health, and added: "We strongly urge people to respect our employees, from rangers to toilet cleaners, who are working exceptionally hard."

READ MORE: Lockdown shuts Hampstead Heath sports facilities