CELEBRATING 70 YEARS OF GOVERNMENT ENDORSED EXTORTION RACKET
This years is special, we are celebrating 70 years of government endorsed extortion. Since June 1946, no one was able to think of a way of funding the BBC that would not involve a choice, for those who want to opt out, between withholding all TV channels and criminal sanctions. On the contrary, the BBC’s power to charge and barge in to homes has been recently extended to cover the internet. The mind boggles. Playing devil’s advocate: shouldn’t the TV licence fee retire at 68, like the UK work force? Don’t we need something progressive, flexible and tailored, more in tune with the changing world?
Even though there were 200,117 people charged for TV licence offences in 2015, there still doesn’t seem to be a political will to challenge the BBC’s status quo. The previous Secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sports squandered the most recent opportunity to reform the TV licence fee and bring it to the 21st century in a bid to suppress his personal scandals from public scrutiny. With a newly appointed Secretary of state, maybe we can hope for some change to the Royal charter before it’s officially agreed in December 2016. The reality of facing statistics like these for a further ten years should be in the least a little concerning for a progressive society like the UK.
The tables below show the general picture for the countries of the United Kingdom in 2015. This will be followed by statistics covering each country by area and by gender in detail.
PROSECUTIONS PER CAPITA
|TV Licence Prosecutions & out of court disposal Per Capita, 2015|
|Population (in million)||53.01||5.295||3.065||1.811||63.181|
|Per 1,000 people||3.3||0.9||5.0||3.2||3.1|
- The overall number of evaders has not changed substantially compared to 2014 where 204,018 prosecutions were made. However, where England and Northern Ireland have seen no significant change the level in Scotland has plummeted and the level in Wales rocketed for 2015.
- Police force area/ local authority /court division with the most suspected evaders in the UK:
- Metropolitan Police
- Greater Manchester
- West Yorkshire
- South Wales
|TV Licence convictions Per Gender, 2015|
|Percentage of women||70.8%||68.6%*||70.9%||71%||70.5%|
*including out of court disposals
- Women are still more likely to be convicted than men in the UK. The ratios are very similar to those observed in 2014.
The BBC has been alerted a few years ago to the fact that the current TV licence penalises women disproportionately. They haven’t changed a thing since because they are a dinosaur incapable of compassion, introspection or change.
|TV Licence unnecessary prosecutions, 2015|
*excluding out of court disposal
- There has been a slight increase in the overall number of unsuccessful cases brought to court (from 12.6% to 12.8%). 2014 boasted 24,025 unsuccessful cases and a total of 190,532 prosecutions.
- It is a burden on the State to bring 1 in 8 to court unnecessarily in England.
- Northern Ireland’s rate is simply unacceptable (1 in 3)
- The “99% conviction rate” by TV Licensing is completely inaccurate.
|Countries||England||Scotland||Wales||Northern Ireland||Isle of Man|
Considering that 38 people were given an average of 25 days for fine default in relation to TV licence offences in England and Wales in 2015, each stay is likely to have cost tax payers close to £2,275. If we add the 57 prison stints in Northern Ireland, it means over £100k was wasted in the process of recovering fines worth around £16k. And that’s on top of all the other expenses. Collection fees alone are over £100M. Jailing people for TV licence fines is literally throwing good money after bad.
|Prison for TV licence fine default, 2015|
|Countries||England & Wales||Scotland||N.Ireland||TOTAL|
|number of prisoners|| 38
20 females, 18 males
26 females, 31 males
|duration of stay||25 days (average)||0||3.1 days (average) time sentenced was 8.5 days|
* one person had two separate periods of custody for non-payment of TV licence
- The number of women committed to prison in England and Wales has nearly doubled last year. They account for 52.6% of people jailed for TV licence fine default in England and Wales
- Northern Ireland has taken a backward step by restoring a policy of custodial sentence for TV licence fine default (a Judicial Review led to a temporary suspension of fine defaulters being sent to prison)
- Average sentences in England and Wales are 3 times longer than those in Northern Ireland.
|Age distribution of prisoners in England and Wales|
|21 – 24||≤2||≤2|
|25 – 29||3||≤2|
|30 – 39||3||7|
|40 – 49||9||7|
|50 – 59||≤2||5|
- 50% of the men jailed for TV licence fine default are aged 40 to 49.
- The bulk of the female are aged 30 to 60.
Before going into the details for each country, it’s important to stress, that the BBC owns the ‘TV Licensing’ trademark and therefore endorses every action taken by TV licensing. Like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hide, BBC & TV Licensing are 2 sides of the same coin. “If he be Mr Hide, I shall be Mr Seek”.
As far as I’m concerned, television should be free. If certain channels disagree, they go subscription. Not withhold access to all other free channels.
This report has been put together to support and promote my petition End the BBC Licence Fee, signed by over 200,000 people. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/end-the-bbc-licence-fee
ENGLAND PER POLICE FORCE AREA
- There were 901 more prosecutions this year of which 217 were unsuccessful. (0.5% increase compared to 2014)
- 1,680 more prosecutions in London this year (remains in 2nd position)
- 823 less prosecutions in Greater Manchester (remains in 3rd position)
- 1,050 more prosecutions in Northumbria (remains in 5th position)
- Cambridgeshire, which was in 16th, climbed to 9th. (2,287 more prosecutions of which 1,744 are females)
- Hampshire, which was in 14th position, climbed to 11th. (408 more prosecutions)
- Avon and Somerset, who were in 12th position, fell to 17th. (678 less prosecutions)
- Suffolk, which was holding the 32nd position, went up 28th. (268 more prosecutions)
- Essex, which was 29th, is now in 36th. (1,783 less prosecutions)
- The percentage of people found not guilty remains constant (12.5% compared to 12.7% in 2014) so we can say that the BBC keeps the same speculative approach when deciding who to prosecute in England.
WALES PER POLICE FORCE AREA
- That’s 2,847 more prosecutions than last year (22.7% increase) of which 2,578 were in South Wales (1,783 of them were females.)
SCOTLAND PER LOCAL AUTHORITY
- There were 8,638 less out of court disposal for 2014-2015 in Scotland than the previous year. (64% decrease)
- There was an almost complete reshuffle in the order (Only Glasgow remains in its original position).
- Most local authorities saw their number of out-of-court disposal at least halved.
- The main exception are South Lanarkshire who saw a 7% increase (making it jump from 8th position to 2nd) and Clackmannanshire, where 1 more out-of-court disposal meant a jump from 20th to 11th position.
- Glasgow city had 1,973 less out of court disposal last year (58% decrease).
- North Lanarkshire saw 1,569 less out of court disposal (82% decrease), making it drop from 2nd to 4th position
- Fife went from 1,346 out of court disposal to 493 (63% decrease – yet remains in 3rd position)
- Edinburg had 867 less out of court disposal last year (77% decrease).
- In 2013-2014, 32 people were brought to court in Scotland, compared to 15 last year (53% decrease)
- The proportion of people found not guilty has increased. It went from 12.5% to 20%
- Combined data for out of court disposal and court prosecution suggest that TV Licensing is not actively pursuing Scottish evaders due to the lower chance of prosecution and lower revenue from fines. Considering that the prosecution levels in the rest of the UK have remained static or increased this maybe a sign that TV licensing is focussing their resources here. This appears to be especially true for Wales
NORTHERN IRELAND PER DIVISION
- There were exactly 1,000 more prosecution in 2015, compared to 2014 (20% increase)
- The percentage of people found not to be guilty increased slightly (from 26% in 2014 to 29% last year)
ISLE OF MAN
- Considering that a total of 125 were prosecuted between 2010 and 2014, the level of prosecution in 2015 (with 129 cases) is unprecedented.
- Unfortunately, this new trend is continuing. For 2016, 33 cases have already been dealt with (25 have been convicted), and 105 are pending (55 women and 50 men)
- In 2015 34% of cases brought to prosecution in 2015 were unsuccessful (defendant found not guilty or case not proceeded) this is alarmingly high compared with the rest of the UK.
- The typical fine was £200 (though £300 fines were not uncommon), usually with standard £120 costs. Only two people were not asked to pay costs in 2015
- There were no prosecution in 2015.
- There were no prosecution in 2015.
- The BBC inspectors seem to visit the island only every three years or so.