As Enforcement Agents, we can sometimes find certain frustrations with the law.
Not just how it’s written either, but with how it’s implemented, interpreted and even abused from time to time.
It can often be confusing, limiting and conflicting, making an already difficult job even harder than it was to begin with.
Any clarifications and confirmations with the legalities of enforcement then, are always welcome, as it can serve as justification, and provide a confident backing to our actions.
Back in 2014, we heard an account of how an Enforcement Agent filed a complaint with a local police force, against a defendant who obstructed the enforcement of a writ. The prosecution never got off the ground, simply because the legalities weren’t fully understood, or followed through in a timely enough fashion.
The court codes weren’t known. In fact, it wasn’t even known if there were court codes for this apparent offence at all.
A few months later, the police officers in question found themselves presented with a similar case, and through their due diligence and further enquiries, they had found that the offence was actually that – ‘an offence’, and there were indeed court codes that could be used to prosecute.
The suspect, this time round, was successfully charged with assault and the obstruction of an enforcement agent.
Nice work, lads!
Now, in terms of preventing any obstructions, it’s always good to know what the potential penalties are for such an offence, so here we have them:
Imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks
A fine not exceeding level 4 (currently £2,500) on the standard scale
We like to think that penalties such as these, which we feel are moderately severe, should serve as good deterrents against the obstruction of an agent as they go about their business of enforcing a writ.
In an attempt to provide consistency and clarification across the industry, we can also include the court codes below, as these are believed to be generic across the country. These codes may be given to police officers who are contacted in order to support agents when they find themselves confronted with obstruction or even assault.
For future reference, the court codes are:
Criminal Justice System (CJS) code - TC07001
PNC / ACPO offence code - 188.8.131.52
Make a note of them, and feel empowered, knowing that in these situations at least, the law is most definitely on your side.