Body cameras are set to be worn by East Lancashire bailiffs for the first time in a bid to reduce the number of violent stand-offs.
Bosses at Helmshore-based Rossendales say their staff are faced with an aggressive incident every other day and now new RS2 cameras, used by several police forces and which record call-outs, are set to be handed out to bailiffs.
Retailing at around £500 each, for the recording equipment alone, they give a live relay to debtors of their actions. Company leaders hope the move will ensure that the customer – and their own bailiffs – are better behaved. Because many bailiffs work alone, it is envisaged that they will also make staff feel more secure.
Mike Shang, Rossendales’ managing director, said:
“We have been at the forefront of changing the way debt enforcement agencies work and are working closely with the Ministry of Justice on drafting new legislation that will help regulate our industry.”
The company’s chairman, Julie Green-Jones, has been part of an MoJ working party which is examining security issues across the industry.
In 2010-11 alone, their staff reported that they have been subjected to 140 violent or aggressive episodes. The cameras can also prove useful in the face of complaints, as they can demonstrate the demeanour of the debtor or bailiff. It is claimed that the customer-facing camera screens have now reduced such confrontations by around 50 per cent, compared to other available devices.