Bailiffs to be given new powers
The government has been accused of trampling on individual liberties by proposing wide-ranging new powers for bailiffs to break into homes and to use “reasonable force” against householders who try to protect their valuables.
I think the “reasonable force” bit is the new power, they can already break into homes (it says later).
Under the regulations, bailiffs for private firms would for the first time be given permission to restrain or pin down householders.
And will householders have the right to use force in self-defence or are they expected to lie down and take it?
They would also be able to force their way into homes to seize property to pay off debts, such as unpaid credit card bills and loans.
The government, which wants to crack down on people who evade debts, says the new powers would be overseen by a robust industry watchdog. However, the laws are being criticised as the latest erosion of the rights of the householder in his own home. …
It emerged last week that Her Majesty’s Courts Service has already handed out guidance to privately employed bailiffs, pointing out that under legislation passed in 2004 they can already break down doors as a last resort to collect court fines. …
It is claimed these powers are already abused. In one case, an 89-year-old grandmother returned home to find a bailiff sitting in her chair having drawn up a list of her possessions. He was pursuing a parking fine owed by her son, who did not even live at the address.
As an aside, earlier this year I received a letter from a bailiff that claimed I owed the gas company nearly £4,000 (for a quarter!) and that the debt had been passed to him for collection. Of course, it was the first I had heard of the debt. Not only that, but I couldn’t get in touch with the bailiff as there was a typo on his mobile phone number and no other contact details. It turned out that there had been a snafu at the gas company and with the bailiff’s typing. I was also caught up this, at a previous property. Nothing to hide, nothing to fear, eh?
What is necessary and proportionate about this?
(see also Chicken Turkey Yoghurt.)