Body-worn cameras to curb aggressive bailiffs

Picture of letters and bills that have come through the post

  • Body worn-cameras to be made compulsory for bailiffs
  • Further findings and action on bailiff behaviour to be published later this year
  • Part of wider Government efforts to improve how people in debt are treated, including 60-day ‘breathing space’

While the vast majority act professionally and within the rules, there are concerns that some bailiffs continue to employ intimidating tactics that put both themselves and often vulnerable consumers at risk.

The Government is taking decisive action and making body-worn cameras mandatory to ensure debt is collected in a fair and safe manner – with those who fail to do so held to account.

It comes after recent moves by ministers to improve industry standards and better protect vulnerable consumers. This includes introducing a new 60-day ‘breathing space’ for people struggling to cope with debt – during which creditors will not be able to chase payments and individuals must seek professional advice.

Justice Minister Paul Maynard said:

“The use of intimidation and aggression by some bailiffs is utterly unacceptable, and it is right we do all we can to tackle such behaviour.

“Whilst most bailiffs act above board, body-worn cameras will provide greater security for all involved – not least consumers who are often vulnerable.

“We are looking carefully at other measures to improve the system and will not hesitate to take action where necessary.”

Today’s announcement follows a recent Government call for evidence aimed at ending intimidating practices, whilst better protecting vulnerable people.

A response outlining its findings, including options for independent regulation and an improved complaints system, will be published after the summer following further engagement with the enforcement industry and the advice sector.

Notes

  • The work to make the use of body-worn cameras mandatory relates to High Court Enforcement Agents and certificated enforcement agents. It does not relate to County Court Bailiffs who are employees of HMCTS and who are out of scope for the review.

  • The Ministry of Justice will work with the Treasury to implement a ‘breathing space’ period where people with problem debts will be protected from enforcement action from creditors and will see their interest frozen. We will also work with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to review how local authorities collect Council Tax debt. F

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