The recent announcement by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) that Enforcement Agents will be required to wear body cameras to record interactions with debtors shouldn’t come as a surprise to those in the profession. We made a decision some time ago for all our Enforcement Agents, all of whom are directly employed by Bristow & Sutor, should wear them. Given the insight we’ve gathered about their use since we introduced them, we’re convinced of the benefits.
The benefits of body cameras are numerous and the reasons for wearing them are well-founded. Not only does this provide assurance to Enforcement Agents, but they can also help to put a debtor at ease. Something that all our Enforcement Agents keep front-of-mind is that some debtors are vulnerable or in tricky situations. Indeed, this is something we look to flag with our clients even before a visit is made, and something we work hard to address.
It’s no secret that some in the industry have tarred Enforcement Agents with a negative brush – and body cameras can only help to root out those bad-apples. Cameras help to raise standards and reassure debtors and clients that the highest professional standards are being adhered to.
Since mandating the use of body worn cameras for all Agents, we have seen a marked reduction in attacks on our staff and complaints. On the rare occasion that complaints do occur, they can provide vital evidence one way or the other. We also use body cameras for training, monitoring, learning and development, and to reassure clients that we’re practicing what we preach.
Whilst the news might well come as a shock to some – it shouldn’t. This is simply another way to help improve our industry, and we all have a stake in that. What is encouraging from the decision, is that the Ministry of Justice do seem to be truly committed to engaging on the issue to improve the situation for both debtors and agents. Our professional body has made good representations on behalf of the sector, and we’ll continue to keep pushing forward as a business in order to lead by example.
Our hope and intention is that momentum is maintained, throughout changes in government, as it is vital that the good start that has been made by the profession is continued. We’re very proud to have led this, but we’ll be sure to continue to drive change.