New Labour push on with empowering bailiffs with greater state sanctioned violence. The proposals, first floated in February, now seem likely as the government reaction to recession is to bailout financiers while giving the mechanism for house repossession greater legal protection over use of force-
The Government may increase the powers of debt collectors despite concerns that the industry is poorly controlled. The new rules, allowable under legislation already passed by Parliament but not yet enacted, would give bailiffs the right to restrain or pin down householders.
Bailiffs are expecting a big increase in business over the next year as tens of thousands of Britons experience financial problems during the forthcoming recession. The Council of Mortgage Lenders has forecast that 75,000 homes will be repossessed next year and hundreds of thousands of people are expected to be pursued for unpaid debts.
Ministers are now consulting on whether to increase the range of powers available to bailiffs under the law. They are currently only able to use force in self defence. The circumstances under which bailiffs can break into people’s homes may also be widened. At the moment, guidelines only allow homes being broken into when the owner is suspected of being inside.
The Government insists that any new powers would be overseen by an industry watchdog. Bailiffs would also be barred from searching people’s pockets or forcibly removing jewellery.
They have repeated the idea this would only occur within the context of greater regulation of the industry, however the legislation covering force is already passed yet bailiffs remain poorly regulated and no reforms are currently before parliament. So Mr Fib is visiting perhaps. Justin @ Chicken/Turkey Yoghurt has it right –
You could call this another front in New Labour’s war on the poor but the thing is, they way things are going right now, the number of people who could end up on the receiving end of this is growing by the day. It’ll probably take a nice, respectable white middle-class stockbroker, who’s down on his luck and has photogenic children, to be killed or seriously injured before people realise that this isn’t just about keeping the underclass nervous.
There are also a couple of good comments in The Times page on this-
May I suggest, then, as a way of defense, that you all arm yourselves. I know we get a lot of flak from the world because Americans are so violent. It’s true. However, anyone breaking into my house to take my possessions for any reason will not leave the house in the same condition he came in.
Willow, Oregon, USA
We need to organise volunatary rapid-reaction bailiff response teams.
These people would provide a physical barrier for the property and being private, uninvoled citizens, could not be assaulted by the bankers thugs without redress. We have to take back our liberty.
Paul, Birmingham, England
Both good, while the community reaction is probably the best long term proposal, I shed zero tears for bailiffs, as before the joke goes- Russians have a word for how to deal with them- Kalashnikov.