FOI Number of people proceeded VS convicted against at magistrates court in England in 2014

Number of people proceeded VS convicted against at magistrates court in England in 2014
Police force area

 

TOTAL

Prosecutions

FEMALE MALE Not stated
Prosec. Convict. Prosec. Convict. P. C.
1. Metropolitan Police 23,396 15,284 12,283 7,993 6,249 119 75
2. Warwickshire 14,349 10,105 9,010 4,204 3,683 40 27
3. Greater Manchester 13,788 9,659 8,662 4,103 3,553 26 24
4. West Yorkshire 11,433 8,001 7,233 3,394 3,017 38 34
5. Northumbria 8,022 5,936 5,501 2,038 1,820 48 40
6. Merseyside 7,733 5,778 5,206 1,952 1,720 3 2
7. South Yorkshire 7,285 5,132 4,624 2,093 1,861 60 57
8. Lancashire 6,953 4,821 4,386 2,129 1,898 3 1
9. Kent 4,937 3,470 3,107 1,431 1,214 36 30
10. Nottinghamshire 4,750 3,383 3,054 1,352 1,166 15 15
11. Humberside 4,706 3,283 2,971 1,411 1,254 12 10
12. Avon and Somerset 4,675 3,176 2,903 1,491 1,336 8 8
13. Dorset, Devon and Cornwall 4,597 3,221 2,820 1,366 1,159 10 10
14. Hampshire 4,400 3,050 2,651 1,333 1,127 17 11
15. Cleveland 4,141 2,985 2,765 1,147 1,043 9 7
16. Cambridgeshire 4,018 2,750 2,398 1,226 1,045 42 25
17. Durham 3,630 2,619 2,389 997 913 14 11
18. West Mercia 3,552 2,415 2,115 1,122 970 15 12
19. Thames Valley 3,482 2,370 2,012 1,100 892 12 12
20. Cheshire 2,920 2,052 1,880 861 769 7 6
21. Staffordshire 2,914 2,124 1,956 788 700 2 1
22. Derbyshire 2,783 1,946 1,728 827 727 10 10
23. Leicestershire 2,652 1,794 1,607 840 724 18 17
24. Sussex 2,491 1,665 1,411 822 694 4 4
25. Northamptonshire 2,395 1,592 1,376 797 687 6 5
26. Lincolnshire 2,286 1,554 1,344 716 616 16 14
27. Norfolk 1,998 1,323 1,172 670 587 5 5
28. Hertfordshire 1,990 1,441 1,227 542 427 7 6
29. Essex 1,897 1,326 1,164 555 453 16 12
30. North Yorkshire 1,469 955 843 507 438 7 5
31. Bedfordshire 1,450 979 820 457 380 14 13
32. Suffolk 1,380 928 833 446 395 6 4
33. Surrey 1,284 876 734 407 335 1 1
34. Wiltshire 1,224 850 748 374 323 0 0
35. Cumbria 1,040 769 697 269 242 2 2
36. Gloucestershire 1,034 748 681 283 251 3 2
37. West Midlands 11 8 5 3 2 0 0
 TOTAL 173,065 120,368 106,316 52,046 44,670 651 518

Ref 438-15 FOI 99796

The results for 2014 are out!

Not surprisingly, London is the place with the most evaders, with 23,396 prosecutions last year resulting in 18,532 convictions, 12,283 of which were women. London is followed by Warwickshire, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and Northumbria. (A table with lists and numbers, for each Police Force area, is at the end of this document)

Merging of Courts

Right at the bottom of the list is West Midlands, in 37th position with only 11 prosecutions. But don’t be fooled, there are thousands of evaders there too (12,871 last year). It’s only because slowly, silently, courts dealing with TV licence evasion cases are being “centralised”: i.e. there are less and less of them, so suspected evaders have to go further afield to defend their rights. For example, for someone living near Land’s End, it’s more than a 340 mile round trip to Weymouth Magistrates Court, and this, to me, is akin to a denial of justice. Only the most determined would bother to contest the case in such circumstances, and this suits the BBC just fine.

Dodger, evader or victim?

People are considered innocent until proven guilty by trial. However, the BBC appears not to apply the presumption of innocence as they claimed to have caught 344,099 people, but the court tells us that only 179,993 were actually convicted. As a dodger is a person who engages in cunning tricks or dishonest practices to evade a debt or obligation, I feel the neutral term “suspected evader” must prevail until judgment. And even then, calling them dodger is assuming dishonesty was the motivation. However, there are plenty of cases where people just forgot to renew their licence after moving into a new flat or after a break-up. And as for the 24,563 who were found not guilty last year, they are clearly victims because they were unnecessarily dragged to court, at the tax payer’s expense.

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9 thoughts on “FOI Number of people proceeded VS convicted against at magistrates court in England in 2014

  1. I have one recommendation to the BBC; Broadcast all your sports events on a special subscription channel and get some sponsors onboard. That should draw in sufficient funds to run the organisation because the poor working class public have better things to do with what little cash they have left. Relying on public funds to run a modern day Broadcasting network is doomed to failure unless you draw on sponsors and request subscription sign-ups.

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    1. people probably wouldn’t mind paying the licence fee if it wasn’t for the fact that they squander the money on plush salaries and pay off’s for their staff and the fact that the quality of programming has been on the slide for the last 10 -15 years, and last but not certainly least the fact that as a public sponsored broadcaster you have the right to expect impartiality when it comes to news – something the BBC has been moving away from for a long time – you couldn’t get a less impartial channel, and for that the corporation deserves no financial support from the public.

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  2. Caroline, thanks for making this information public. I have written to my MP about it. She has passed it to Rt. Hon. John Whittingdale MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media & Sport for comment. I anticipate a bland and politically-correct response, but if it is of significant substance, I will let you know.

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  3. Caroline, I have received a response. As expected, it is not particularly exciting but does recognise that there is an issue, although the conclusion is that women are not being targeted unfairly. However, no explanation is offered for the apparent inequality and my MP comments that “The Government is working to explore this disparity further and will take it into consideration when considering future models for funding the BBC.”

    John Whittingdale MP points to ‘Independent review on TV licence enforcement’ published 16 July 2015:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/independent-review-on-tv-licence-enforcement-published

    His letter states:

    “The review found that more women than men are convicted of TV Licensing offences, however there was no basis on which to conclude that TV Licensing intentionally targets women, or that its practices are directly or indirectly discriminatory.”

    “The Government is working with TV Licensing to explore this disparity, and it is something that will be taken into consideration when exploring future models for funding the BBC through the ongoing Charter Review.”

    He then lays out the demarcation of responsibility:

    “As Mr Drake may be aware, the application of the legislation on TV licensing is the responsibility of the BBC. The day-to-day administration and enforcement of the licence fee system are undertaken by TV Licensing, https //www tvlicensing.co.uk/contact-us/index.aspx which acts as agent for the Corporation. Under the terms of the BBC’s Charter and Agreement, the BBC is operationally and editorially independent of Government and there is no provision for the Government to intervene ¡n the Corporation’s day-to-day operations.”

    Lastly, he says:

    “The Government will be carefully considering its response to the review and making a formal response within three months of the review’s completion, as set out in the Deregulation Act.”

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  4. Yes, lots of words, for very little new info. I say, women might not be more targeted, but the BBC “door to door” approach, coupled with a “Fear the court’s wrath” tactics seem to work better on women. Maybe if the consequences were “we’ll clamp your car”, it would work better on men, What do you say?

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