Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004

There is an interesting post on the “Land of the Free” website.

Although this post is entitled “Become a bailiff and earn £5.93 per hour;” the information provided is interesting because it highlights additional stealth legislation that was introduced in the statutory instrument known as “Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004” (DVCV).  One might well wonder how the title of this act relates to the powers supposedly bestowed on bailiffs.

A freedom of information request was made (ref: FS50159091) on 13th August 2009 asking questions of the National Standards for Enforcement Agents over the issue of forced search and entry powers.

Some definitions are in order:

CEO or Civilian Enforcement Officer and ASA or Approved Enforcement Agencies are contracted to enforce magistrates’ court warrants on behalf of HMCS (Her Majesty’s Court Service).

Perhaps the most important point to remember – as clarified on page 2 of the decision notice available on the ICO website as shown in paragraph five it is stated quite clearly that:

The MOJ has stressed that the Guidance document requested by the complainant is not provided to all bailiffs but only to ‘specific people enforcing specific warrants’, namely CEOs and AEAs. Furthermore, the powers of search and entry under the DVCV Act only apply to CEOs and AEAs where there is a warrant for arrest, detention or commitment in proceedings or in connection with any criminal offence. They cannot therefore be used to enforce civil debts.

So when a bailiff stands at your door and threatens all sorts of action under the guise of this legislation, they are doing so unlawfully and illegally and their actions should be reported to the relevant court – these powers cannot be used to enforce civil debts – remember that!  In all probability they are neither CEOs nor from AEAs but simply bully-boys on the bandwagon of misery depending on your fear and lack of understanding to threaten you into giving them money.

There is a lot of dancing around in this document and examples of where the Commissioner has provided guidance to the HMCS which the HMCS then relied upon.  Although the Commissioner explained this ‘assistance’ to the HMCS it is clear that this is not an ideal situation for the complainant.

It is also noteworthy that although the HMCS failed to meet deadlines set throughout the course of the investigation and offered no explanation for their delays – there are no penalties applicable to that failure.  Would a member of the public at the hands of the HMCS get away with such behaviour – of course not!

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