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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Customer contact and data security: safety: personal safety

HMRC is committed to safeguarding your health and safety at work. This is in addition, of course, to their legal obligation to provide a safe and secure working environment for all our employees. This commitment applies whether you are working in or out of the office.

Calling on individuals, employers, companies and agents to recover debts and returns is a core function of debt management offices. Whilst physical attacks on HMRC staff are rare, threats or verbal abuse and exceptionally physical assaults unfortunately occur from time to time.

DMB operates a zero tolerance policy on physical and verbal attacks on our staff. That means that every occurrence should be reported and if justified, customer records noted with potential risk. Whilst verbal threats and abuse during a phone call may not necessarily cause any physical harm that information could be useful if a DMB officer then makes a personal call to the customer and the records of that individual should be noted as such.

Field Force/Distraint officers usually make outdoor calls on their own provided that

  • they have received the appropriate training and
  • the necessary health and safety risk assessments have been carried out, including a Recovery Proceedings (RP) check where the records of the person being visited is checked.

It is vital that these procedures are carried out for the safety of the visiting officer.