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Two-thirds of TV Licensing prosecutions at one London court targeted women

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Re: the Campaign to end the BBC Licence Fee

If they are harassing you, prosecute them.

Seriously. Send them a formal letter demanding that they cease and desist, and then call the police if they come back.

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Re: the Campaign to end the BBC Licence Fee

>Fewer ads on on British telly has got nothing to do with the licence fee.

That's a bit questionable. Don't forget that ITV have always supported the licence fee, because they know that without the Beeb, commercial TV would be driven to the bottom, and existing limits on advertising would last about as long as an ad break.

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Anonymous Coward

I think the discussion is going off of the point

The most striking and egregious thing I find in the article is the fact that a child of 16 was prosecuted for having no TV licence for a home they clearly did not own. Therefore I can only conclude that they went after the first person who answered the door and not the home owner/tenant. That is not justice nor is it fair play.

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Re: I think the discussion is going off of the point

Not sure why you've posted AC as this is something I can't see anyone disagreeing with. There is no way a child of 16 can be held responsible for someone else's TV license. If anything should be making the government crack down on Capita it's this as it's clearly a frivolous prosecution that should never have been raised. Someone should represent this girl in a counter action against Capita for wrongful prosecution.

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Re: I think the discussion is going off of the point

Capita will try and prosecute anyone they can get an admission of guilt from, which is usually the person opening the door.

Often those at home during their work hours are the vulnerable, be it a pensioner, physically or mentally disabled person etc, so they get disproportionately get sent to court.

My viewing changed years ago to on demand watching rather than live viewing and I do not use the iPlayer, so do not have to pay the licence fee. Making us all pay the BBC via tax's is the wrong way to go.

It is pointless trying to convince the Capita licence collecting goons that you only watch on demand as they will claim the fact you have a tv means you are guilty. Just close the door on them. They have no rights to demand you talk or communicate with them.

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IT Angle

Re: I think the discussion is going off of the point

"... child of 16 was prosecuted for having no TV licence ..."

I couldn't find any reference to a 16 year old in the story, where did you read about this 16 year old. The story says " ...with the youngest aged 20 ". Is this the person you were referring to? If so, you say "...for a home they clearly did not own....", the story goes on to say, "The Register's analysis was a 20-year-old woman living in a £400,000 house in Surrey " I can't think of any reason why a 20 year old couldn't own a £400,000 house. Granny died and left her a 3 bed semi. £400K doesn't buy you much in Surrey

Even if a 16 year old was prosecuted, that doesn't mean that they were found guilty, and even if they were, we don't know all the circumstances. Were they given previous warnings that they ignored?

Finally, WTF has this got to do with IT?

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Re: I think the discussion is going off of the point

The original story stated that the youngest defendant was 16. This has since been updated to 20. However, what's telling is that the person prosecuted does not live at the address, from the gist of the story the 20 year old is actually the child minder for the owners of the property and as such should not be liable for the homeowner's lack of tv license.

It wouldn't surprise me if they did try and prosecute a child at some point.

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Re: I think the discussion is going off of the point

Re: "The most striking and egregious thing I find in the article is the fact that a child of 16 was prosecuted

Stange as the most striking thing I saw was the statement:

" Most defendants were said to have admitted to watching live TV without a licence for about a month, on average, though almost all in court pleaded not guilty."

Okay we are missing lots of information, like when they stopped having a licence, but a month isn't very long.

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Privatise it

Get rid of the TV license and sell the BBC to the highest bidder, you could give every current license holder a share (like sid).

Only self-important states like the DPRK need a state broadcaster

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Re: Privatise it

Absolutely not. The last thing we need is a broadcaster controlled by the likes of Murdoch. Thanks to the BBC we at least get a semblance of unbiased reporting. Can you imagine if someone turned the BBC into Fox? It's almost as bad an idea as making the BBC totally taxpayer funded. Previous governments have already shown how they'd like to control the BBC, what we don't need is a state owned propaganda machine or a puppet controlled broadcaster biased towards whichever political viewpoint its owner wants to espouse at the time. You just have to look at the dross produced in the printed press to see how bad it would be without an independant broadcaster.

The license fee isn't great, but it beats the alternatives currently on offer.

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Re: Privatise it

You have seen the quality of the commercially produced TV in this country? Do you really want more "I'm a Celebrity .... " type rubbish?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Privatise it

Absolutely not. The last thing we need is a broadcaster controlled by the likes of Murdoch. Thanks to the BBC we at least get a semblance of unbiased reporting.

It is no better than a semblance of unbiased reporting. BBC isn't known as "Buggerers Broadcasting Communism" for nothing. Peter Sissons told of how when he started at the Beeb the editor put a copy of the Observer and the Guardian in front of him and told him this was all he needed to know. If it weren't illegal for broadcasters to be politically biased then who knows what socialist tripe the beeb would be putting out.

As for unbiased, their view of "balance" when it comes to anything remotely scientific is hopeless. It led them to giving equal airing to that doctor who claimed that the MMR jab caused autism and to the representatives of the entirety of peer reviewed science who said that it doesn't. That 'balance' resulted in a lot of kids not getting the jab, and of course a lot of them became severely ill during the measles epidemic that broke out soon afterwards. Was the Beeb repentant? Nope...

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Re: Privatise it

..."t led them to giving equal airing to that doctor who claimed that the MMR jab caused autism and to the representatives of the entirety of peer reviewed science who said that it doesn't."....

Equal time on air to both? Surely that's the definition of balanced reporting?

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Re: Privatise it

views on shape of the earth differ.

© p. krugman

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Re: Privatise it

"Equal time on air to both? Surely that's the definition of balanced reporting"

Only if they are equally deserving or equally legitimate. There was a time when the BBC felt that they had to give any loon with a dissenting voice equal time to the accepted scientific or otherwise evidence-based view.

I understand that this is no longer the case.

It seems that the BBC get accused of bias from various parts of the political spectrum, which suggests to me that they are pretty much unbiased.

However even if not, this should be addressed itself, rather than attacking the BBC as a concept. Publicly funded public broadcasting which has something for everyone (note, not "you will like everything") can only be a good thing and the BBC have some great stuff, as well as some stuff I consider awful but hey, you can watch Mrs. Brown's Boys if you really want.

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Re: Privatise it

'Thanks to the BBC we at least get a semblance of unbiased reporting'

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Crash...sorry fell off my chair then.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Privatise it

Yes, because the BBC never does 'reality' shows.

And EastEnders, Holby City/Casualty and most of their so-called "drama" offerings are so like real life...

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Re: Privatise it

I'm totally confused about the BBC, left wingers say its too right biased, right wingers say its full of lefties, remainers are complainers it give to much time to the likes of farage, leavers say its full of remonaers.

It must oscillate between states quicker than a charged particle.

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Re: Privatise it

.."Only if they are equally deserving or equally legitimate. "...

Who determines how deserving or legitimate the subjects are? Surely if they did that they would be guilty of censorship?

I do understand what your're saying, at least in the case of the MMR inoculation causing autism claim but, at the time that this item broke in the news, it wasn't definitively proved to be incorrect. The scientific and medical institutions have proven to be wrong previously, so giving both sides equal airtime was the unbiased thing to do.

In hindsight on the other hand ....

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Anonymous Coward

Lets look at the numbers

Of the 62 individual defendants who appeared in court charged with not paying the TV Licence over that period, two-thirds – 42 were female.

So in that one court 11 more than half of the prosecutions were female. That doesn't exactly seem massive.

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Stopped reading when you quoted the Daily Mail.

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Anonymous Coward

Yup, could of done with a slightly less biased source, since the Daily Mail editorial policy is to always slag off the BBC.

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Daily Mail

> living in a £400,000 house

Yep, that's the kind of thing the Daily Mail would report.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Daily Mail

I looked that up and included the value to show that it is quite unlikely she could have bought the house herself or that it was a council flat or similar social accommodation. My hunch (and it's nothing more than that – I have no information beyond name, date of birth, address, occupation and charge details) is that she is a carer for a parent living there and she happened to answer the door to the Capita salesman.

Admittedly I'm going out on a limb, here, but I don't know of many 16-yr-olds living independently in new-build semi-detached houses in leafy South East counties.

edited to add

I've been talking to Capita about the 16-yr-old specifically. It turns out the court made a blunder calculating her age when they put it on the listing document. She is 20, not 16.

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(Written by Reg staff)

The Mail carried out the investigation. There is no other source for the information gathered and published by the Mail investigations team other than the Mail itself.

I'm lost for words by some of the proudly displayed idiocy in here, sometimes.

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Re: Daily Mail

Are you not allowed to refer to them as Crapita scumbags?

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Re: Daily Mail

Not in print. Yet.

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>There is no other source than the Mail itself.

Wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.

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Anonymous Coward

It astonishes me that anyone ever get's caught for this, the inspectors aren't allowed to force their way in and they can't do anything if you turn them away. When I was a student (without a TV) I was doorstepped and told the chap he couldn't come in. He left, they kept sending their silly letters, nothing ever happened. There's no 'detection equipment' they literally can't catch you if you don't want them to.

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I guess it's the people that don't realise they can do this, or don't think quickly enough. Plus 2/3rds are women, who may be intimidated (?)

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they're good at flannelling the vulnerable and sending out impressive amounts of bluster that frightens people brought up to defer to authority.

the domestic extremist suppression police will be round shortly.

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Hah, that's nothing. If the UAE police catch you driving about with someone "of the opposite sex" in the same car with you, they can rightfully pull you over and demand to see your marriage license.

Whaaaa????? Yes you are going to the jailhouse now.

(This is an example where homosexuals get away scot free, except if they catch you being homosexual, and then I don't know what they do to you but I imagine it could be worse)

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Bronze badge

Oops

I misread that at first as "UEA police".

I thought, Wow, I didn't think they were that backward in Norwich .....

Anyway, another place on my Never Go There list.

(UAE, that is, not Norwich. I've been to Norwich, trying to hitch-hike to Hunstanton.)

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Alert

Keep you mouth shut

If you have a car accident you are told by your insurers to not admit liability. Apply the same logic to the goons that knock on your door. I'm not urging people to not pay if they watch TV but don't self incriminate yourself. Do not sign anything. If you do then you deserve what you get. Crapita cannot do anything to you unless you give them the ammo to shoot you.

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Re: Keep you mouth shut

You are not told by your insurer to not admit liability, you are told by everyone else. Because when you admit liability the insurer will say "you admitted liability, so we can't go to court and say it wasn't your fault but have to pay, so we want the money back from you". You do your insurer a _big_ favour if you admit liability. DON"T DO IT.

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Re: Keep you mouth shut

"You are not told by your insurer to not admit liability"

This is what Admiral say:

"but don't admit you were at fault for the accident, even if you think you were. "

http://www.admiral.com/magazine/features-and-competitions/in-case-of-a-claim

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Here's my question: Is there any step before going to court? That maybe women ignore more often than men in the hope the problem goes away?

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Anonymous Coward

there will be LOADS of steps before going to court! you'll get 1 Million + n letters for starters! You won't go to jail for not paying for a TV license, you'd go to jail for failure to pay after the court has found you guilty and you still don't pay up!

but of course step one is BUY a TV license and stop freeloading in the first place

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Coat

Wait a minute

Surely this is a great victory for feminism and female empowerment?

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Re: Wait a minute

Don't be a jackass.

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Re: Wait a minute

The icon on the top right was an indication of the seriousness of the comment.......

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What the elite find inconvenient....

...is made illegal. No more justification for the BBC license to be subject to criminal law than for rail companies to have these powers. As with similar examples such as trespass, belong in the civil courts.

As for the argument that the license fee saves viewers from inane advertising, a license is needed to watch Freeview channels which are already wrecked by long and frequent ad breaks.

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You do know tvlicensing fabricate evidence, don't you?

Capita tried to prosecute this guy using fabricated evidence, a doctored video that puported to show a still tv image from a "live" broadcast.

http://www.thurrockgazette.co.uk/news/9867463.Man_wins_TV_licence_battle/

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NXM

When I was a nipper my parents used to be Magistrates Courts Clerks, and they got a lot of trade from TV licensing.

Their usual MO was to knock on a door in the married quarters of the local army base, which would be answered by the wife of the soldier serving abroad. 'Where's your license,' bullyboy would say, and the wife would answer 'oh, I'm sure he's put it here somewhere, why don't you come in.'

Having been invited through the door, like a vampire, bullyboy would be able to see the TV on. When it turned out the soldier had either forgotten to renew the license or was unable to renew it, what with being abroad somewhere being shot at, the wife would be charged, given a criminal conviction, and fined £400.

This caused some interesting discussions at the dinner table.

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Anonymous Coward

really?

In 2013, 178,332 people in England and Wales were proceeded against under the Wireless Telegraphy Acts. 153,369 were found guilty. However, only 32 of those went to prison that year.

If you look at the figures, you’ll see that the great majority of people who are found guilty of fee dodging don’t end up doing time. Why is this?

Under the current system, if you are found guilty of licence fee evasion you will in the first instance receive a fine, which in most cases can range from under £25 and up to £1,000. The amount varies, but data from the Criminal Justice System (England and Wales) shows that in most cases the fines vary between £150-£200.

Your local magistrate, district judge or sheriff can send you to prison if you wilfully and repeatedly refuse to pay the fine.

The TV Licence Enforcement Review states: “Under the current system individuals found guilty of failure to hold a TV licence do not receive a criminal record as the offence is not a recordable offence and therefore does not appear on the Police National Computer.”

If an offence is not on the PNC, it won't show up on any DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) checks - the new name for CRB (Criminal Recods Bureau).

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NXM

Yes really.

This was 30 years ago though. Then it was a criminal offence, though as you say people didn't get sent to prison unless they egregiously failed to pay the fine.

Yes, technically it was the wife's responsibility to get the license, but if her husband usually did it and forgot, the wife would get the conviction - the same as the 16-year old in the example who probably wasn't in charge of paying for it. My point was that the bullyboys felt that fining wives because their husbands hadn't got the license was easy money, and it would seem their tactics haven't changed much.

We get the threatening letters for an unoccupied static caravan, and I'm really hoping a precious little "officer" with a "detector van" shows up so I can tell him where to go, and how far he can shove his inspection. I can't be bothered to phone to inform them we don't need a license, partly because its not my job, and partly because when I did once, the letters stopped - for a year or so. Then it was back to the same old same old. They must have spent loads on letters.

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When you go on holiday

When you book that nice little cottage in Dorset or the Dales do you check to see if there is a TV licence in place?

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Re: When you go on holiday

I don't think it matters; your "home" licence provides cover. Ditto televisions in caravans, although ISTR that the rule requires that the "home television" is not being used at the same time.

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Where's the money?

Sitting in the USA, I do wonder about the TV license - essentially it's unenforceable and while I can understand the issues, we pay good money in the US to watch the BBC on cable TV.

Realistically the transmission methods are evolving, broadcast TV is on it's way out while Internet broadcasting is becoming the way of the future - the advantage for the BBC is that it's market is the world and via the internet it should be relatively easy to move to the subscription model - Hulu offers inexpensive service with adverts or ad-free for a few bucks more...

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MAH

So as a Canadian, I am a little confused as to why this system even works like this at all. Are you telling me there is no way to technically police this system so you don't pay the fee, you can't get the service? I don't quite understand how that system works but from what I've read it basically seems like everyone should be paying a licensing fee be they have a TV or a internet connection (regardless of what they are watching). Its seems like its essentially a social service program to ensure everyone has access to TV (much like I pay for public schools in Canada even though my kids goto private schools).

Wouldn't it actually work out cheaper for everyone if it were just added to income tax or something...Capita wouldn't be needed any longer and I imagine with 20 million people or so paying taxes, the cost per person would be peanuts compared to all this hassle with enforcement,etc

confused in Canada

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