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Bailiffs forced to wear body-worn cameras to curb intimidation | Science & Tech News

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Body-worn cameras are going to be made compulsory for bailiffs in a bid to address concerns about the use of intimidation when collecting debts.

Announcing the move on Monday, the government said mandatory body-worn cameras would ensure debt is collected in a fair and safe manner.

There are approximately 2,500 certified bailiffs in the UK who will be required to wear the cameras when collecting debts ranging from council tax to traffic penalties – but campaigners are concerned the move will not really protect the vulnerable.

According to Citizens Advice, despite the certifications for debt collection agents, the lack of a regulator for the industry means that people are not protected from rule-breaking bailiffs.

Research by Citizens Advice and debt charity Stepchange found that 850,000 people contacted by bailiffs over a two-year period experienced them illegally forcing entry into a home or removing goods which the occupant needed for work.

Earlier this year, Sky News investigated the desperation experienced by people living in fear of the bailiffs evicting them from their homes or taking their possessions.

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.”

Gillian Guy, the chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Bailiff body cameras will do nothing to protect people while there is no industry regulator to oversee how they are used.

“While it’s encouraging the government has committed to further action, its next step must be the creation of an independent regulator to crack down on rule-breaking bailiffs.”

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