The Government has announced plans to make body worn cameras compulsive for all Private Debt Collection firms and Bailiffs to ensure compliance.
The Ministry of Justice has announced the move for England and Wales to offer protection to vulnerable debtors and protect against “intimidation and aggression” tactics that have been used by some Bailiff firms.
The body cameras are already worn by some firms but it will soon become compulsory that all 2,500 certificated bailiffs and enforcement agents will need to wear the cameras.
County Court Bailiffs will be exempt from the order but High Court Enforcement Officers will also be subject to the new laws.
Whilst some welcomed the news, Citizens Advice claimed the body cameras will do “nothing” to protect those that owe money. The CA has recommended that an independent regulator be formed to crack down on issues within the industry.
“Bailiff body cameras will do nothing to protect people while there is no industry regulator to oversee how they are used” advised Gillian Guy, CA Chief Executive.
The Bailiff sector within the Private Debt Collection industry saw a major overhaul in 2014 but campaigners claim that more action is required to protect debtors.
There have been claims of Bailiffs charging excessive fees, wrongfully advising of their legal rights of entry and refusal to accept repayment plans.
The MOJ has stated that it intends to work with the industry to implement the use of Body worn Cameras as soon as possible.
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”
The industry association for Bailiffs, the Civil Enforcement Association commented “This decision offers reassurance to the public that standards are consistently high and gives protection to our agents who do a difficult job”