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A few days ago, I was invited to speak with Roberto Perronne on BBC3CR Drivetime about police officers having debt problems, probably because Roberto knew I was a former Metropolitan Police officer and have vast experience of dealing and helping police officers with debt issues.

I’m actually quite surprised that debt problems within the Police have not been raised in the media more often and we have to wait until the recent screening of the BBC program ‘24 hrs in police custody’ which featured the arrest and jailing of Police detective Gary Suffling to thank. Apparently, Suffling blackmailed a prostitute’s customer because he had debt problems.

Following the show, I began to reflect on some of the cases I have been involved with helping police officers, support staff, traffic wardens and PCSOs overcome their debt issues, with all these cases the main aim was, and still is, to get their debts under control with more manageable monthly payments and to keep them in their jobs. My first real experience of a police officer having a debt problem was way back in 1977.

Police officer dismissed for bouncing a cheque

Read more: It’s not a crime for a Police officer to be in debt, it’s how you go about resolving it, is the key


These were just an example of some of the calls I received on my most recent LBC Money hour on Sunday 8-9pm, 11 February 2018. (Free podcast link at bottom of page).

Although all calls to the show are important and very much appreciated two did stand out, they were caller number four, Yvonne from Stepney, who said her £20,000 of credit card / catalogue debt meant she was not sleeping and basically sinking. The other caller five, Caroline from Guildford, being so desperate after receiving a lot of post and following a visit from bailiffs to her home she decided to open her ex-partner’s mail. To her horror Caroline discovered he had been hiding £88,000 of debt.

Read more: “I’m sinking in £20,000 of credit card & catalogue debt” / “I opened my ex partner’s post and...


Giving debtors breathing space is not something new so don’t be fooled into thinking this was the idea of the Conservatives when it featured in their manifesto in the election earlier this year. It really started back in 2006/7 when Enforcement Restriction Orders (EROs) were considered. EROs can still be brought in as it was included in the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill see chapter 2. 

The idea of an ERO was to provide a short term legal way of relief to a debtor that finds him/herself unable to meet their obligations through a sudden and unforeseen change in their financial circumstances from which they are likely to recover.

The key points of the then proposed ERO;

Read more: Giving debtors breathing space is not something new, so don’t be fooled


Everyone is talking about the effect of Brexit on the economy but very little is being said about the potential impact on consumers who are in either a Debt Management Plan (DMP)Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) or even bankruptcy

It’s too early to say whether consumer insolvency will be affected in particular tourism bankruptcy and COMI (Centre of main interest). Tourism bankruptcy is the phenomenon whereby residents of one country move to another jurisdiction in order to declare a personal bankruptcy there, before returning to their original country of residence. This is done in order facilitate bankruptcy in a new jurisdiction where the insolvency laws are deemed to be more favourable. It is most prevalent in Europe where EU laws allow the free movement of residents to other Eurozone countries. More on Tourism bankruptcy here 

Read more: How Brexit could effect consumers in debt management plans, IVAs and bankruptcy


Who would have thought a couple of years ago that a payday lender would crash out of the market in such circumstances? I for one did not see this coming. Conjecture aside, what we know is that Cash Genie had 92,000 customers and many may feel worried and unsure what to do. Below we have detailed a few pointers to help you, if one of them, understand your rights and - yes - you do have responsibilities as well.

I’m a Cash Genie customer and not heard from them about redress / compensation

Read more: What to do you are if a previous customer of payday lender Cash Genie


To many people, well managed debt is an acceptable and perfectly normal part of everyday life.  However, for those that become ‘over indebted’, it can become a serious problem affecting their health, relationships and often their livelihood.

The FCA's interim review published yesterday has revealed that around two million cardholders are in arrears, another two million have persistent levels of debt cardholders may struggle to repay and a further 1.6 million are constantly making minimum repayments on their credit card. That's close to 6 million card holders who potentially have debt problems.   

Triggers for falling into debt

Read more: Are we soon to see a change in minimum credit card payments?


In case you are not aware, I regularly appear on the LBC Money Hour Show with Clive Bull, on this show Olly Mann was sitting in the chair to enable Clive to have a week off. You listen to the show by following a  link to the timeline / topics covered with the free podcast at the bottom of this page.

Hearing about people's debt problems and seeing how it has affected their lives and being able to offer a little guidance and hope to their situation is the real driving force behind why I do what I do. I've never worked with Olly and we hit it off straight away and had some really good callers. Here are some of the calls that stood out for me.

Call one - My brother has mental health issues and borrowed £1,400 from payday lenders, what can I do?

Read more: LBC Money Hour with Olly Mann 19/10/15 blog


I welcome the proposed removal of the court based bankruptcy process as I feel it is an unnecessary requirement. An online procedure will reduce the stress and financial demands faced by already overstretched consumers and the time spent, especially by those living a distance from the courts, some of which only allow bankruptcy petitions by appointment and on certain days of the week. Some of my clients have not even been able to afford the cost of travel to get to their nearest court let alone the bankruptcy fee.

The consultation, in which I took part, also considered the removal of the court process for creditor led petitions, but there was understandable resistance to this as it would not be as straightforward as in consumer led cases.

The cost to administer a consumer’s bankruptcy Vs the fee

Read more: Is it good news to move consumer bankruptcy online and remove the court process?


Well that was another cracking show!

In case you are not aware, I regularly appear on the LBC Money Hour Show with Clive Bull and I must say that last show on 3 August 2015 was a cracker. The switchboard was full within a few minutes of starting  the Money Hour and we heard from callers with varied levels of debt and different circumstances.

Hearing about people's debt problems and seeing how it has affected their lives and being able to offer a little guidance and hope to their situation is the real driving force behind why I do what I do. Here are some of the calls that stood out for me.

Call 2 – Didn't understand bankruptcy procedure

Read more: LBC 'Money Hour' blog with Clive Bull Monday 9-10pm 3/8/15



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