2 Nov 2022

Bailiffs to wear body cameras in health and safety move

6:45 pm on 2 November 2022
No caption

The Ministry of Justice is introducing body cameras for its bailiffs this week, which will be turned on before a bailiff approaches a property and off again when they leave. Photo: RNZ / Anneke Smith

Bailiffs will now wear body cameras when they serve warrants, evictions, and other court documents.

The Ministry of Justice is introducing the devices this week, saying it will keep bailiffs safer.

In a statement, the ministry said the cameras would also improve transparency and accountability.

"Bailiffs generally work on their own, visiting people and private property or places of work they are unfamiliar with, and often in highly emotive situations.

"This can present a health and safety risk to the bailiff and also makes investigating complaints difficult due to the isolated nature of the work.

"The BWC (Body Worn Camera) footage will provide an objective record of a visit and ensure any complaints can be fully investigated."

Bailiffs will turn their camera on before approaching a property and off when they leave.

They will have to let people know they are recording, but the cameras also have a front-facing screen so the person can see what is being taped.

The ministry said the move was part of wider health and safety work, which included better training and the provision of personal protective equipment for bailiffs.

Footage would be held securely within the ministry's systems and would be deleted after 90 days, unless there was a complaint or an incident investigation, the ministry said.