A DEBT help centre in Wharfedale and Aireborough is welcoming a move to help protect people against aggressive bailiffs.

The local Christians Against Poverty Debt Help Centre is welcoming news of the first independent regulator for enforcement agents in England and Wales.

The Enforcement Conduct Authority (ECA) will begin by appointing a chairperson ahead of its official launch later this year. One of its main objectives will be to raise standards within the enforcement sector, providing more protection for vulnerable people being visited by enforcement agents, also known as bailiffs.

Samantha Price, Wharfedale and Aireborough Debt Centre Manager, said: “We're pleased to see that the ECA is being created to make sure that everyone is treated fairly. We're hoping that it will put a stop to aggressive, intimidating and confrontational behaviour by some Enforcement Agents.

"Struggling in debt is bad enough without the stress of being treated badly by the bailiffs.

“We’ve sadly had many clients go through the trauma of a visit from bailiffs and although it’s never a pleasant experience, it’s important that bailiffs are aware of the importance of treating vulnerable people with respect and signposting them for help where needed.”

She stressed that anyone worried about debts piling up and receiving letters about debts being passed to enforcement agents, did not need to worry alone.

She urged anyone struggling to contact CAP on their freephone number 0800 328 0006 as soon as possible to get free debt help.

Christians Against Poverty is a charity determined to reduce UK poverty by delivering debt counselling, money management education, job clubs and life skills groups.

It works hand-in-hand with more than 580 local churches across the UK, with its head office based in Bradford. Visit capuk.org/about-us to find out more.

CAP is committed to its services being available to all individuals regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation.

Visit stoptheknock.org to explore local authority bailiff use and debt collection practices in England and Wales. Stop The Knock research is from the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline and Business Debtline.

The free debt counselling service provided by Wharfedale and Aireborough Christians Against Poverty was set up just over two years ago. The centre, run by the Wharfedale and Aireborough Methodist Circuit, is one of around 600 CAP services across the UK helping people with their debts, to find employment, overcome addictive behaviour and learn new skills.