|Number of people proceeded VS convicted against at magistrates court in England in 2014|
|Police force area
|1. Metropolitan Police||23,396||15,284||12,283||7,993||6,249||119||75|
|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|
|7. South Yorkshire||7,285||5,132||4,624||2,093||1,861||60||57|
|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|
|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|
|30. North Yorkshire||1,469||955||843||507||438||7||5|
|37. West Midlands||11||8||5||3||2||0||0|
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.