British TV Licence Evasion Exposed – the Complete File

An independent review of the TV licence offence

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION

According to various official bodies,204,018 people were prosecuted or fined in 2014 for TV licence offences: 4,905 in Northern Ireland, compared to 12,536 in Wales and 173,044 in England. In Scotland, there were 13,486 cases disposed of via an out of court fine and 32 prosecuted via the courts in 2013-2014. Already 145 cases were open in the last 8 months in the Isle of Man. There have been no prosecutions for TV licence offences in Jersey or Guernsey in 2014. Putting these numbers in perspective, it would appear there are more prosecutions and convictions per capita in Wales than in any other country in the UK.

map whole UK

TV Licence Prosecutions Per Capita, 2014 
Countries Scotland Northern Ireland England Wales
Prosecutions 13,518 * 4,905 173,044 12,536
Population (in million) 5.295 1.811 53.01 3.065
Per 1,000 people 2.6 2.7 3.3 4.1

 

TV Licence Convictions Per Capita, 2014 
Countries Scotland Northern Ireland England Wales
Conviction 13,514* 3,619 151,503 11,348
Population (in million) 5.295 1.811 53.01 3.065
Per 1,000 people 2.5 1.9 2.8 3.7

*includes non-court disposal (fiscal fines)

It’s also worth noting that 9 out of 10 areas with the most suspected TV licence evaders are in England, whereas 8 out of 10 areas with the least prosecution are in Scotland.

Police force area/ local authority /court division with the most suspected evaders in the UK:

  1. London: 27,272 prosecutions
  2. West Midlands: 12,871
  3. Greater Manchester: 11,811
  4. West Yorkshire: 9,718
  5. South Wales: 7,505
  6. Northumbria: 7,108
  7. Merseyside: 6,857
  8. South Yorkshire: 6,579
  9. Humberside: 5,227
  10. Lancashire: 5,192

Police force area/ local authority /court division with the least suspected evaders in the UK:

  1. Jersey: 0
  2. Guernsey: 0
  3. Orkney Islands: 5
  4. North Ayrshire: 6
  5. Eilean Siar: 8
  6. Shetland Islands: 14
  7. Moray: 39
  8. Argyll & Bute: 55
  9. Aberdeenshire: 69
  10. Stirling: 72

(Tables with all the details for each country are to be found at the end of this document)

AGE AND GENDER DISTRIBUTION

pie charts all 3

If the typical TV licence evader appears to be living in England, it’s average age is hard to determine, as brackets of age supplied by various official bodies are not uniform, some covering as little as 2 years while others cover as much as 34 years. However, one thing is clear: over 70% of TV licence evaders are female. This 30%-70% male/female ratio is pretty much constant across the whole of the UK and is at odds with statistics for other small crimes (men tend to be more criminalized than women, by a long way).

The BBC assures us that women are not deliberately targeted. They describe their protocol as follow: a TV Licence officer who finds a house without a valid TV licence will take a statement from any responsible person living at that address, regardless if they own the TV, watch it or are in charge of paying the household bills. Therefore, the logical explanation for the gender disparity is quite simple. Statistically, women are more likely to be at home during day time, taking care of children for example, when TV licence officers are likely to come a calling. Women might also be more trusting and willing to open the door in the first place, and willing to correct their situation when prompted.

The BBC claims that, where a householder agrees to purchase a licence, it is likely that no further enforcement action will be undertaken. Unfortunately, there is strong evidence pointing to the contrary. The back of the form used by TV licence officers for example, clearly states that “Even if you purchase the appropriate licence, you may still be prosecuted for the offence.” Testimonies also back this finding that people willing to sort out their TV licence on the spot end up being the victims of this system.

interview form back mod

Interestingly, in Jersey, only 48% of the people who have been investigated for TV licence offences since 2008 are female (20 out of 41). This complete departure from the rest of the UK is certainly worth noting. In the Isle of Man, women account for 62% of prosecutions and around two-thirds of the convictions.

PROSECUTION VS CONVICTION

An astonishing number of the prosecutions that are commenced by the BBC do not result in conviction.

Freedom of Information Requests show that 1,188 people were wrongly prosecuted of committing a TV licence offence in Wales last year. This means a failure rate of 9.4%. In England, 21,541 were wrongly prosecuted, meaning 1 in 8 cases (12.4%) were either dropped or withdrawn by the BBC, or people were not found guilty.

More worryingly, over 1 in 4 cases failed in Northern Ireland as 1,286 people were wrongly prosecuted last year. Jersey is on a par: of the 8 people prosecuted since 2008, 2 were found not guilty, meaning an equally weak 25% failure rate. Not far behind, is the Isle of Man, with a an overall 20.6% failure rate.

And even though only 32 people were brought to Scottish courts, considering that 4 of them were found not guilty, it means the 12.5% failure rate in Scotland is on a par with England and Wales’ rate.

In total, 24,025 people were unnecessarily brought to court last year. This number of ‘unsuccessful’ prosecutions brought lends weight to the view that cases are initiated on a speculative basis where it is hoped by the BBC that people will plead guilty or won’t contest the prosecution. This surely is a scandalous abuse of the courts’ process by the BBC.

England and Wales
ALL POLICE FORCE AREA COMBINED Proceeded against Found guilty Unsuccessful
2009 166,944 148,867 18,077
2010 164,462 142,386 22,076
2011 170,650 149,239 21,411
2012 193,049 164,932 28,117
2013 178,332 153,369 24,963
2014 185,580 162,851 22,729
Northern Ireland, 2014
BY COURT DIVISION Proceeded against Found guilty Unsuccessful
Belfast 1,469 1157 312
Londonderry 561 395 166
Antrim 589 428 161
Fermanagh and Tyrone 706 491 215
Armagh and South Down 433 301 132
Ards 604 475 129
Craigavon 543 372 171
TOTAL 4,905 3,619 1,286
Scottish Courts, 2013-2014
BY LOCAL AUTHORITY Proceeded against Found guilty Unsuccessful
Clackmannanshire 1 1
Dumfries & Galloway 1 1
Dundee City 1 1
East Lothian 2 2
Edinburgh, City of 4 3 1
Fife 3 2 1
Glasgow City 3 2 1
Inverclyde 4 4
Moray 1 1
North Ayrshire 2 2
North Lanarkshire 5 5
Renfrewshire 1 1
South Lanarkshire 3 3
West Dunbartonshire 1 1
Total 32 28 4
Jersey, 2008-2014
Year Proceeded against Found Guilty Unsuccessful
2008 5 3 2
2009 3 1 fined

1 arrest ordered

1 bound order

Guernsey since 2008-2015
Year Proceeded against Found Guilty Unsuccessful
2013 4 4 0
2015 1 1 0
Isle of Man, 2001-2014
Year Proceeded against Found Guilty Unsuccessful
2001 1 1
2004 39 23 16
2005 60 53 7
2006 35 32 3
2007 21 17 4
2008 19 16 3
2009 5 5
2010 32 27 5
2013 78 62 16
2014 15 9 6

It’s interesting to know that 80% of the conviction in Northern Ireland were pronounced in the absence of any defendant.

Also, some people have been prosecuted more than once in the Isle of Man: one person 4 times, six people 3 times each, 21 people twice each, showing perhaps that criminal fines have a lack of deterrent effect.

CRIMINAL CONSEQUENCES

  1. FINE

Fines, at least in England and Wales, are based on the criminal’s income. In the case of TV licence evasion, it should represent between 25% and 125% of the evader’s weekly income, depending on the duration of the offence and other factors. For example, if a guilty plea is made, a reduction will apply, reflecting the stage at which it is made.

Reduction when a Guilty Plea is made
Guilty plea entered at the first reasonable opportunity 1/3 off
Where a trial date has been set 1/4 off
Guilty plea entered at the ‘door of the court’ or after the trial has begun 1/10 off

The maximum fine is £1,000 (except in Jersey where it’s £500 and in Guernsey where it’s £2,000).

However, the average fine is £70 in Jersey, £80 in Northern Ireland, £75 in Scotland (out-of-court disposal) and a whopping £170 in England and Wales.  In the Isle of Man, the median fine was £150 until 2013. In 2015 it has been £200, though a quarter of the 2015 convictions so far have been for £300.

So, for the sake of a theoretical average gain of £25 (the difference between the fine in England and Wales and the price of buying a TV licence in the first place), the BBC is happy to relentlessly chase people and press charges, which is far from free. The BBC sent, under the TV licensing trade mark, 52.8 million letters last year. These letters were followed with around 3.8 million visits by TV licence officers. But, considering that court records show that less than 35% of TV licence fines are actually recovered, it would appear that prosecuting people is a long way away from being a profitable business.

  1. CRIMINAL RECORD

Because watching TV without a TV licence is, in the eye of the law, a crime (unlike other utility bills), TV licence evaders will get a criminal record. It will not show up on basic criminal record checks.

  1. PUBLIC SHAMING

And because criminal matters are public, some local newspapers have decided to entertain their readers with what amounts to Public Shaming: a disclosure of the full name and address of the offenders, along with the amount of the fine awarded.

  1. COSTS, SURCHARGE

Finally, 2 charges will be added on top of the fine: court costs (between £60 and £120) and a Victim surcharge (£20 to £60 which will fund victim services if recovered).

  1. IMPRISONMENT

TV licence evasion is not punishable by a period of imprisonment per se. It’s only when convicted evaders refuse to pay the fine they were ordered to pay, or are incapable of paying it, that a period of imprisonment may be imposed as a “last resort”. This, however, is an all-round lose/lose situation: the BBC gains nothing in the way of monies and it costs the tax payer an average of £95 per day to keep one person behind bars. (This estimate is based on a disclosure from the Ministry of Justice that it costs £34,766 per annum to house a UK prisoner.)

The length of stay is decided by the amount owed.

Maximum periods of imprisonment in default of payment, England and Wales
Amount owed do not exceed £200 7 days
Amount exceeding £200 but not exceeding £500 14 days
Amount exceeding £500 but not exceeding £1,000 28 days

Considering that 39 people were given an average of 20 days for fine default in relation to TV licence offences in England and Wales in 2014, each stay is likely to have cost tax payers close to £2,000, bringing the combined total to an eye watering £74,000.

The situation in Northern Ireland, at least up to 2012, was even more appalling with over 200 imprisonments each year. A Judicial Review led to a temporary suspension of fine defaulters being sent to prison, putting a stop to the unsustainable practice of giving jail time for non-payment of outstanding fines of as little as £5. Now, fine default warrants are apparently only being issued if the defendant is already in prison serving a sentence or if he or she lives outside the jurisdiction.

Thankfully, there were no custodial sentences imposed during the 5 year period 2009-10 to 2013-14 in Scotland, which shows a great dose of common sense and progressive thinking. The same applies to Jersey, with no incarceration ordered since at least 2008.

In the Isle of Man, the system in place is not sophisticated enough to ascertain whether a fine for non-payment of a TV licence ends up in a non-payment of fine and therefore a prison sentence.

The British parliament proposed decriminalising the offence once and for all, but unfortunately the proposition was turned down by a House of Lords vote by 178 to 175 in February 2015. This is curious because the Lords actually recommended the offence be decriminalised in their 2005/2006 BBC Charter renewal paper.

Number of defendants committed to prison for FAILURE TO PAY A FINE ARISING FROM TV LICENCE EVASION

England and Wales

Year Number of defendants committed to prison Length of sentence (average)
2012 51 22
2013 32 24
2014 39 20

Those 39 were in fact 11 women and 28 men:

6 aged 18-29.

10 aged 30-39.

15 aged 40-49.

8 aged 50 or over.

Number of defendants committed to prison for FAILURE TO PAY A FINE ARISING FROM TV LICENCE EVASION,

Northern Ireland

Year Number of defendants committed to prison Length of sentence (range)
2011 206 2 to 28 days
2012 228 3 to 28 days
2013 18 7 to 14 days
2014 1 7 days
Number of defendants committed to prison for FAILURE TO PAY A FINE ARISING FROM TV LICENCE EVASION

Scotland

Year Number of defendants committed to prison Length of sentence
2009-2010 0
2010-2011 0
2011-2012 0
2012-2013 0
2013-2014 0

THE IMPACT OF A POSSIBLE DECRIMINALISATION

Before 1991, the Home Office was in charge of the collection and enforcement of the television licence fee. The evasion rate was pegged at 12%. When the BBC took over, they went down the creepy route with adverts like “Your town, your street, your home, it’s all in our database” and they got into their heads that they had a responsibility to the households who pay their licence fee to vigorously pursuing those that deliberately evaded payment. The evasion rate went down to 5%.

Studies have shown that the perceived likelihood of being caught, rather than the formulation of the law itself has the best deterrent effect. Therefore, the act of changing the TV licence offence from a criminal one to a civil infraction should not increase the evasion rate by itself. Behavioural research conducted for the BBC found that if the TV licence was decriminalized and the £1000 fine was replaced by a civil penalty with a fine of £150, evasion rates would increase to 8.9% This, to me, sounds very acceptable considering that the evasion rate, through criminal charges, was higher than that not so long ago. But there is more. If a civil penalty of over £300 was set, evasion rates would stay at 5%.  This is amazing news, but what the BBC and the current government want is a 0% evasion, as, deep down, they firmly believe that everyone saying they don’t tune in to the BBC each week is a liar. And this is why they believe a household levy, (i.e. a flat tax forcing everyone to pay for the BBC regardless if they own a TV) would be fairer than the current flat tax that only applies to those who watch live TV. But what they forget, is, short of being a totalitarian state, TV licence evasion is unavoidable.

FUNDING PUBLIC BROADCASTERS AROUND THE WORLD

A large portion of Europe, Asia and Africa fund their public broadcasters with a TV licence, in one form or another.  Prices in Europe go from £40 per year (Poland) and £255 (Norway).

But funding a public broadcaster doesn’t have to be through a TV licence. For example, Andorra, Canada, China, Estonia, Hong Kong, Iran, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Nigeria, Philippines, Spain, United States, and Vietnam never enforced a TV licence.

A substantial amount of countries abolished their TV licence: Australia (1974), India (1984), Portugal (1992), New Zealand (1999), Malaysia and Netherlands (2000), Belgium (2001), Gibraltar (2006), Iceland (2007), Malta and Singapore (2011) and Finland (2013).

The UK appears to be the only country, with Ireland, who thinks that non-payment of the licence fee should be a criminal matter. Interestingly, Japanese households with a television set are required to hold a licence, which costs between £75 to £130 per year (the most expensive being for satellite TV), however, there is no fine or sanction for non-payment, though recent conflicting court judgements muddied the waters. 75.6% of people were said to pay the licence fee.

THE REVIEW ON DECRIMINALISATION OF THE TV LICENCE OFFENCE

The Secretary of State has the duty to review periodically the enforcement of the licence fee. This time, the mandate also included the possible decriminalisation of the licence fee. A TV licence Enforcement Review (also known as the Perry Review), was therefore conducted in the spring and published on the 16th July 2015. The premise was that the BBC offers “value for money” and the bottom line was “if decriminalisation is likely to jeopardise revenues, then the status quo should remain”. Relying heavily on BBC’s response and findings, it concluded that the current system of criminal enforcement should be maintained in the overall public interest. But no study was made of the social impacts of the current criminalisation regime or the outside world’s perception of the British system. In fact, the only recent study used was a behavioural one pre-prepared by the BBC according to their own parameters. The general public was not consulted via an online survey or a street poll and David Perry did not interview a single person who had been recently visited by a TV licence officer or prosecuted by the BBC to ask them what they think of TV licence enforcement methods.

According to the Perry Review, “the principal argument advanced against the continuing existence of a criminal offence is that the criminal law is an inappropriate mechanism through which to address the problem of TV licence evasion.” I’m afraid this is a plain case of getting it wrong. The question “Is the continuing existence of a criminal offence an appropriate mechanism through which to fund a public service broadcaster?” should have been part of the review. “Are the current consequences of TV licence evasion proportional to the offence?” is another. “How is this coercive funding method perceived by the rest of the world and how does it reflect on the BBC and the British society?”, “Are there other countries that use criminal sanctions to fund public service broadcasters? If not, why is so?” “Why should the British public be harangued, hassled, and door stepped simply for not wanting the BBC? Has the BBC become a dogma where people should not be allowed to opt out of it, or is it a case of ‘wholesome goodness that should be forced’?” “Is keeping the licence fee down and maintaining all the current BBC services matters more than the social impact of this coercive funding method?” “Can we make good television using only money freely given?” “What are the BBC essentials, and how can we downsize it without compromising quality?”, “If people overwhelmingly like the BBC as the BBC claims it does, why not switch to voluntary donations/subscription?”

Finally, the Perry review recommends that more flexible payments plans be investigated. This ignores the basic problem that money is finite and that some people don’t have enough of it to cover the basics. Saying it’s only 40p a day, or offering different payment option and instalments won’t make a difference if the total stays the same. Another recommendation is that cable and satellite companies should share their customer data with TV licensing. This is a bit rich, coming from a barrister, as Mr Perry should be well aware that it implies a major breach of the data protection act.

A PETITION
A petition, called “End the BBC Licence Fee”, hosted on 38 Degrees, calls for a debate on the future of the licence fee, with the hope the TV licence fee will be abolished in the near future. It has already been signed by over 165,000 people and it was translated into Polish and in Malayalam. It was mentioned in the national German newspaper Taz and on the American Radio network Marketplace and my research featured in over 20 newspapers across the UK.

newspapers

The petition can be signed here https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/end-the-bbc-licence-fee

It’s important to raise awareness on this and to get the TV licence payers involved in the process, for the first time ever.

DETAILS

Northern Ireland

Defendants dealt with in the magistrates’ court for an offence of ‘No TV licence’, by gender, age band and court division, Northern Ireland

2014

 

Gender Age Band Division
Belfast Londonderry Antrim Fermanagh and Tyrone Armagh and South Down Ards Craigavon Total
Count Count Count Count Count Count Count Count
Female Under 18 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 2
18-19 15 5 4 4 2 2 5 37
20-24 146 35 69 51 32 63 42 438
25-29 212 76 77 78 55 83 84 665
30-34 157 74 65 94 52 69 81 592
35-39 144 45 46 71 38 38 55 437
40-49 211 112 89 126 55 83 70 746
50-59 139 52 46 53 33 46 41 410
60-69 22 11 4 10 9 9 12 77
70-79 2 1 1 1 1 0 0 6
80-89 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
90+ 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 2
Not recorded 18 5 4 6 2 4 2 41
Total 1067 417 406 494 279 398 392 3453
Male Under 18 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
18-19 4 2 3 3 3 2 1 18
20-24 47 13 23 18 14 13 14 142
25-29 66 20 28 26 21 33 20 214
30-34 62 18 24 25 26 31 19 205
35-39 39 24 19 35 12 25 24 178
40-49 95 43 50 55 39 55 44 381
50-59 49 12 26 30 30 33 19 199
60-69 17 6 2 8 6 8 6 53
70-79 2 0 0 2 0 0 0 4
80-89 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
90+ 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Not recorded 15 4 3 9 3 4 3 41
Total 397 142 179 211 154 204 150 1437
UNKNOWN 5 2 4 1 0 2 1 5
Total 1469 561 589 706 433 604 543 4905

England

Number of people proceeded against at magistrates court in England in 2013

 

Police force area FEMALE MALE Not stated TOTAL
1. Metropolitan Police 17,538 9,580 154 27,272
2. West Midlands 8,915 3,927 29 12,871
3. Greater Manchester 8,328 3,475 8 11,811
4. West Yorkshire 6,626 3,060 32 9,718
5. Northumbria 5,206 1,871 31 7,108
6. Merseyside 5,135 1,715 7 6,857
7. South Yorkshire 4,584 1,970 25 6,579
8. Humberside 3,611 1,610 6 5,227
9. Lancashire 3,611 1,579 2 5,192
10. Kent 3,614 1,561 12 5,187
11. Nottinghamshire 3,455 1,362 13 4,830
12. Avon and Somerset 3,180 1,481 6 4,667
13. Cleveland 3,158 1,288 19 4,465
14. Essex 2,992 1,396 18 4,406
15. Thames Valley 2,643 1,218 13 3,874
16. Hampshire 2,706 1,080 9 3,795
17. Staffordshire 2,336 1,027 1 3,364
18. West Mercia 2,017 968 19 3,004
19. Devon and Cornwall 1,993 982 5 2,980
20. Leicestershire 1,944 997 18 2,959
21. Durham 2,021 849 17 2,887
22. Derbyshire 1,933 808 4 2,745
23. Northamptonshire 1,587 848 3 2,438
24. Cheshire 1,655 676 3 2,334
25. Cambridgeshire 1,453 634 1 2,088
26. Norfolk 1,256 756 4 2,016
27. Dorset 1,216 544 3 1,763
28. Lincolnshire 1,035 577 14 1,626
29. Surrey 1,043 574 1 1,618
30. Bedfordshire 1,087 487 21 1,595
31. Sussex 1,127 441 6 1,574
32. North Yorkshire 1,006 544 1,550
33. Hertfordshire 1,072 441 3 1,516
34. Suffolk 941 433 3 1,377
35. Wiltshire 783 392 2 1,177
36. Gloucestershire 737 306 3 1,046
37. Cumbria 766 269 1 1,036
38. Warwickshire 687 344 1,031
 TOTAL 114,997 52,070 516 167,583

Wales

Number of people proceeded against in Wales 2014
Police force area FEMALE MALE Not stated TOTAL
1. South Wales 6,587 2,701 27 9,315
2. North Wales 1,506 588 4 2,098
3. Dyfed-Powys 728 392 3 1,123
 TOTAL 8,821 3,681 34 12,536

With television licence evasion offences committed in Gwent now being prosecuted in Cardiff (and therefore merged with South West results). This merging of courts means defendants have to travel greater distances in order to defend themselves. It would be fair to ask if this situation makes challenging TV Licensing’s accusations prohibitive.

Scotland

Non court disposals where the main offence was under the Communications Act 2003, section 363(2)&(4), by local authority area, Scotland, 2013-14
Local Authority Male Person Female Person All
Age group Age group
16 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 54 55 to 89 16 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 54 55 to 89 other
1. Glasgow City 57 265 565 107 301 803 1,114 192 3,404
2. North Lanarkshire 55 165 302 58 206 452 572 83 1,893
3. Fife 64 142 183 27 152 375 353 50 1,346
4. Edinburgh, City of 29 96 196 38 103 290 331 42 1,125
5. East Ayrshire 23 69 99 21 75 189 180 37 693
6. Dundee City 24 73 107 21 78 188 157 31 679
7. Renfrewshire 21 71 90 24 62 188 195 26 677
8. South Lanarkshire 17 65 102 19 57 148 172 23 603
9. West Lothian 20 58 81 14 56 170 146 23 568
10. Falkirk 12 41 57 14 44 116 85 9 378
11. South Ayrshire 12 35 51 10 27 80 101 4 1 321
12. Inverclyde 4 20 39 6 23 84 93 15 284
13. East Lothian 2 24 28 10 21 49 39 5 178
14. Perth & Kinross 4 20 24 7 21 41 41 9 167
15. Angus 5 20 17 2 19 39 49 5 156
16. West Dunbartonshire 3 9 12 12 16 34 42 9 137
17. Aberdeen City 4 15 12 2 10 33 40 9 1 126
18. Scottish Borders 8 23 8 2 14 28 28 2 113
19. Dumfries & Galloway 3 21 13 2 15 32 23 3 112
20. Clackmannanshire 3 5 8 6 12 39 32 2 107
21. Highland 5 14 16 1 9 24 21 2 92
22. Stirling 1 8 10 5 3 16 26 3 72
23. Aberdeenshire 2 10 12 9 19 15 2 69
24. Argyll & Bute 4 15 3 7 8 16 2 55
25. Moray 4 5 1 1 9 10 8 1 39
26. Shetland Islands 1 4 3 6 14
27. Eilean Siar 2 2 1 3 8
28. Orkney Islands 1 1 2 1 5
29. North Ayrshire 1 3 4
Unknown 6 8 10 2 7 12 16 61
Total 389 1,291 2,064 416 1,363 3,473 3,899 589 2 13,486
PEOPLE PROSECUTED IN SCOTTISH COURTS under the Communications Act 2003, section 363(2)&(4), where main offence, by local authority area, 2013-14
Local Authority Main Result of Proceedings
Guilty Not Guilty
Males Females
Age group Age group
16 to 24 35 to 54 55 to 89 16 to 24 25 to 34 35 to 54 55 to 89
Clackmannanshire 1
Dumfries & Galloway 1
Dundee City 1
East Lothian 1 1
Edinburgh, City of 1 1 1 1
Fife 1 1 2
Glasgow City 1 1 2
Inverclyde 2 1 1
Moray 1
North Ayrshire 2
North Lanarkshire 1 3 1
Renfrewshire 1
South Lanarkshire 1 2
West Dunbartonshire 1
Total 1 9 2 1 1 12 2 4

Some local authority areas, including East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Midlothian and North Ayrshire, do not contain a sheriff court. As there is no court recorded for police fixed penalties these cannot be broken down to local authorities.

Jersey

Recorded TV Licence offence incidents in Jersey
 Year Sex Age Investigated by the police? Prosecuted ? Result / Sanction
2008 Female 34 yes yes Fine £100
Female 57 yes yes Fine £80
Male 26 yes No further action taken
Male 25 yes Written caution
Male 22 yes yes Case dismissed (No evidence offered)
Male 53 yes Written caution
Female 50 yes Written caution
Female 19 yes No further action taken
Female 48 yes yes Fine £50
Female 21 yes yes Case dismissed (No evidence offered)
2009 Female 27 yes yes Fine £50
Male 38 yes Written caution
Male 31 yes Written caution
Male 30 yes No further action taken
Female 41 yes Written caution
Female 35 yes Written caution
Female 22 yes yes Arrest ordered
Male 38 yes yes Bound order
Male 26 yes No further action taken
Female 46 yes No further action taken
Male 22 yes No further action taken
Female 36 yes No further action taken
Male 48 yes Written caution
Female 44 yes Written caution
Male 50 yes Written caution
Female 30 yes Written caution
Male 36 yes No further action taken
2013 Male 31 yes Written caution
Female 19 yes Written caution
Male 46 yes Written caution
Female 26 yes Written caution
Female 63 yes Written caution
Male 40 yes Written caution
Female 45 yes Written caution
Male 59 yes Written caution
Male 42 yes Written caution
Male 52 yes Written caution
Female 27 yes Written caution
Female 21 yes Written caution
Male 29 yes Written caution
Male 28 yes Written caution

Isle of Man

Recorded TV Licence offence incidents in Isle of Man
Year Male Female Total
Prosecuted Convicted* unsuccessful Prosecuted Convicted* unsuccessful
2001 1 1 1
2002
2003 1 1 1
2004 14 6 8 25 17 8 39
2005 17 13 4 43 40 3 60
2006 12 12 23 20 3 35
2007 8 8 13 9 4 21
2008 6 6 13 10 3 19
2009 2 2 3 3 5
2010 10 9 1 22 18 4 32
2011
2012
2013 34 25 9 44 37 7 78
2014 9 5 4 6 4 2 15
2015 30 16 14 52 33 19 82
Pending 28 35 63
Total 171 103 40 280 192 53 451

* Convictions includes fines and conditional discharges

Suspected TV licence Evaders from Isle of Man 2001-2015
Age Range Male Female Total
<20 6 5 11
20-30 51 136 187
30-40 47 71 118
40-50 43 48 91
50-60 16 11 27
60+ 8 9 17
Grand Total 171 280 451

These findings are backed by the following Freedom of Information requests:

FOI 98525, FOI 97719, FOI 97268 and FOI 98986 Ministry of Justice for England and Wales

FOI 094/15 and FOI 102/15 Court and Tribunals Service, Northern Ireland

FOI-15-00823 and FOI-15-01131 Justice Analytical Service for Scotland

FOI 202-03-79460 States of Jersey

Data for Isle of Man has been provided by Information Security, Data Protection and Management of Police Information, Douglas Police Headquarters.

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TOP 5 MOST CRINGE-WORTHY ADVERTS FROM TV LICENSING TM

puke

Top 5 of the most cringe-worthy, toe curling, slogans/adverts/crap non-stories ever written by the BBC under the TV licensing trademark

(All content, title and puns are theirs. I’m only responsible for highlighting bits – the original texts are longer – and adding comments in brackets)

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The stay-at-homes are assured of remaining dry while over 135,000 visitors will be praying for good weather as they arrive at the Glastonbury festival, one of the highlights of this year’s music festival season. Jason Hill, spokesperson for TV Licensing, said: You don’t need to keep an eye on the weather forecast to discover new bands this summer, with extensive airtime planned for Glastonbury, T in the Park, Reading and Leeds festivals. If you’re watching festivals live on TV, online or your mobile, you’ll need a TV Licence, whether you are into reggae or rap. 

  1. TV Licensing: Hoteliers to get ready for Valentine’s get-away

With Valentine’s Day – the first celebratory weekend of 2015 – just around the corner, TV Licensing is appealing to hotels and guest houses across the UK to make sure they are correctly licensed. Peter Ducker, Chief Executive of the Institute of Hospitality, added: Offering guests access to high-quality TV is a big draw for the UK’s wide range of hotels and guesthouses.

(“Oh hello, before I book a stay with you, could you please tell me that you have a TV licence and I will be able to get the BBC in my room” as asked by no hotel or guest house customer on Valentine’s day, or any other day, ever.)

  1. Businesses urged to build a TV licence into their budgets

Mark Whitehouse, spokesman for TV Licensing in Worcestershire, said: “We want businesses to watch events such as the budget without worrying about whether or not they’re correctly licensed. It’s easy for business owners, directors and managers to stay on the right side of the law.

  1. Avoid scrum for licences ahead of 6 Nations

It’s important pubs and clubs are correctly licensed and we know landlords and managers want to stay within the law, which is why we are issuing this advice before the tournament.

  1. The TV programmes proven to improve your chances this Valentine’s day

Nicole Fuller & Stephen Farmer, both TV Licensing spokespersons, said exactly the same thing:”TV has the power to bring us together, and the survey shows how those big TV shows can help break the ice on a first date. If you are looking for love in 2015, make sure you have a TV Licence. Getting caught without one could mean a date with a magistrate and a fine of up to a £1,000.”

(Is that the new tactics to sell more TV licence? Extend the definition of licence payer to include “people looking for love this year”?)

The desperation and shamelessness of those people knows no bound ! But WAIT, theres’s more. There’s a lot of videos to watch too too on  TV licensing TV

Turning genuinely funny letters into unfunny advertisement. Result!

More recent advert, vilifying Scots.

The following is not funny at all. The writing style is similar to the adverts above…

advert business complete

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3174421/Restaurateur-threatened-1-000-fine-customer-watches-TV-mobile-premises-astonishing-bullying-letter-BBC-TV-Licencing-body.html

advert restaurant


Sources for the adverts

http://www.tvlicensing.co.uk/cs/media-centre/news.app?p=1&y=

and http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/NEWs/13367295.Businesses_urged_to_build_a_TV_licence_into_their_budgets/

http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/11759473.Avoid_a_scrum_for_licences_ahead_of_six_nations/?ref=rss

http://www.thebrummie.net/tamworth-pubs-told-to-avoid-scrum-for-licenses-ahead-of-six/

Taz’s (German Newspaper) article mentioning the petition

article TAZ

http://taz.de/Britische-Sendeanstalt-BBC/!5212063/

Only the last paragraph is about my petition and I. It reads (loose translation):

Apart from the government, a French teacher from West England is demanding the end of the broadcasting fee. She has already collected 165,000 signatures prompted by the dismissal of Jeremy Clarkson. The showmaster of the popular car and motorsport programme “Top Gear”, who on many occasions made indiscretionary, racist remarks and is most recently alleged to have punched his producer. Nonetheless, one million viewers demanded that he be reinstated in his position. Many considered Clarkson’s dismissal proof that the BBC no longer listened to paying fans.


Here are the questions that Daniel Zylbersztajn had sent me before writing this article, followed by my full answers.

Why did you start a campaign on the license fee? What was the moment that triggered it?

My campaign was triggered by what is referred to by the media as the “Fracas” (If you don’t know, in a nutshell, Jeremy Clarkson punched a producer at their hotel. The BBC suspended him and pulled the Top Gear show for a while. 1 million people signed a petition to say they wanted to keep Clarkson. The BBC ignored the petition, even though the show has a viewership of 6 million people). I signed that petition and I wrote a complaint letter to the BBC. Their handling of the “fracas” and its aftermath pushed me over the edge, so to speak. They alluded that the TV licence fee was neither their fault, their responsibility nor even under their control. Having a legal mind, I decided to research this. I wrote the text “Hot Potato”(1) after that I thought, if the BBC doesn’t care about what the viewers think, why do they need our money? I searched for a ready-made petition against TV licence fee. I found about five (some closed) but none appealed to me because they were not complaining about the things that mattered to me. So I wrote mine and it took off very quickly.

 What are your key points?

– I want a public debate on the future of the TV licence. Basically, my stance is: if we pay, we need to have our say.

– I don’t approve of the BBC prosecuting, fining and even sending people to jail for the sake of making television. The methods used by Capita – the company hired to do BBC’s enforcement work – are quite vile too. (I can expand on that if you want.)

– I don’t like the fact that 70% of TV licence offenders turn out to be females. There’ something fishy about that. It’s a complete departure from other statistics for small crimes.

– I don’t like the general concept of a flat tax. This is a burden on the poor. The rich don’t seem to understand that £12 a month can be difficult to part with.

– I hate the lack of freedom and the feeling of being blackmailed that is created by this system. I don’t understand why the public should be forced to pay a tax in order to be allowed to watch other free channels. (To give you an example, if Tesco prosecutes thieves, it’s fine by me. But if Tesco wants to prosecute people who go to Aldi, it has to be stopped.) I want to be able to opt out of the BBC.

– If the BBC wants to make the same commercial products as other broadcasters (like Strictly Come Dancing, Don’t tell the bride, Masterchef, the Voice, etc) I don’t understand why the public should be forced to pay. We already have alternative versions of those shows on other channels. Not to mention the fact that the BBC has handed over a no-questions £3.7 billion gives it an unfair advantage compared to other TV channels.

What should it be replaced with?

There are many options. I have to say straight away that I do not approve of the Rundfunkbeitrag system. The lack of freedom makes it even more unbearable than the current TV licence, in my opinion. The abolition of the TV licence is not an invitation to create an Internet licence or a household levy.

The obvious alternatives are Subscription, Advertisement and General taxation, but there is much more than that.

My favourite system is based on the concept of Voluntary Donation and fundraising events. (Some US radios rely solely on this).  The BBC might be better off with this system, as those who support it wholeheartedly might want to give more than £145 a year. But this could lead to a shortfall too, if, say only 70% of the population wants to continue to give the BBC the same amount every year. I would suggest that the BBC has to learn to “make do with the budget freely given”, in other words, downsize. Do you need 8 TV station and 18 radio station? I don’t think so! I’m not even sure we need one BBC channel at all. Personally, I’ve stopped using BBC services altogether after the “fracas”. It’s been 3 months and I can assure you, life is fine. The world does not stop spinning.

Your campaign has some support but there are millions of people. A Daily Telegraph ISPSO study some years ago claimed (I think you cite the study yourself) that 70% of the population do not support it.  Why are there not millions supporting your campaign? 

I’ve asked myself the same question “why did 1 million people sign a joke (the petition to keep Clarkson, called “freedom to fracas” was light-hearted) and ‘only 165,000 people’ signed mine?” The fact is: people are happy to share a harmless joke, and are happy to complain about things, but very few are ready to do something positive about it, like leaving their name and address. I’ve come to the conclusion that some people think petitions are useless, or that any resistance is futile because the public is powerless. By the way, did you know that the petition with the greatest number of signatures in the UK is reckoned to be the “Ambulance Dispute Petition”, presented in 1989, with “only” 4.5 million signatures.

If your readers are interested, my petition is called “End the BBC licence Fee”. It’s on 38 degrees.  Here’s the link https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/end-the-bbc-licence-fee

What other steps are you planning to do?

Besides collecting signatures, I sent a number of Freedom of Information Requests to the government and/or judicial system of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in order to collect data on TV licence evasion. I wrote many articles and press releases, which I then sent across the UK, trying to raise awareness on the Charter renewal, the impact of collecting the TV licence and the BBC’s less desirable practices. So far 13 local newspapers in England and Scotland, plus 3 Polish expat online News and one American radio have picked up a part of the story. I’ve also sent those articles to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sports to help him with the Charter renewal. By the way, the right Honourable John Whittingdale has confirmed to be aware of my petition. He even thanked me for it, via his Head of BBC Financial Policy’s representative.

I’m still waiting for some results regarding the decriminalisation of the TV licence fee so I still have some articles left to write.

Considering that it’s nearly summer recess already in the Parliament, handing over the petition is likely to be in September.

About you:  Where do you live (Town), what do you do for living?

I live in the beautiful English Riviera (Torquay). I’m a legal editor for a branch of Thomson Reuters and I’m a freelance French teacher.

Who do you suggest I should contact who, like you, does not support the license fee (media people in particular).

The only media people that kept in touch with me are Marc McLean at the Clydebank Post, Kapil Summan at the Scottish Legal News and Stephen Beard at Marketplace (the British correspondent of the American Radio network).

If you want to talk to more people in general, I would suggest my Scottish associate, Duncan Edelsten. The other person you need to talk to calls himself @BanTheBBC on twitter. Don’t be put off by the subversive name and avatar.


(1) https://endbbclicencefee.wordpress.com/2015/05/02/hot-potato-whos-to-blame-for-the-tv-licence-fee/