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

Two-thirds of TV Licensing prosecutions in a London court were brought against women, according to an exclusive analysis of court data by The Register. We analysed three months of listings data from the City of London Magistrates’ Court in the UK. Of the 62 individual defendants who appeared in court charged with not paying …


  1. James 51 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    I wouldn't trust crapita to make a decent cup of tea. The thought that they have been given the power and incentive to attack people (which however you want to dress up their tactics, is what it amounts to) is scary.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I wouldn't trust crapita to make a decent cup of tea. The thought that they have been given the power and incentive to attack people (which however you want to dress up their tactics, is what it amounts to) is scary."

      What other incentive has the Government got with these contracts? If they offer excessive profits the likes of Andrew Tyrie will find out and go for them, so the incentive has to be to take money off of us.

      It's why the government is not interested in dealing with drug addicts who are serial offenders. Their crimes only affect individuals and increase car and household insurance, whereas prosecuting them costs tax revenue.

    2. tony72

      I'm sure I'll get flamed for saying it, but if we're going to have the TV licensing system as it stands, then everyone who's supposed to pay up needs to pay up, and that requires enforcement. If they were nice about it, people just wouldn't pay (that is to say, even more people than the hundreds of thousands of freeloaders that already steal BBC content by dodging the license fee); that's a fact, so distasteful as it is, they're getting a necessary job done.

      I already watch very little BBC content, and chafe somewhat at paying the license fee as it stands, but if I have to not only pay for stuff I don't watch, but subsidise even more free-loaders who watch without paying makes it even more annoying. Personally, I'd support switching to a subscription model, instead of this silly pseudo-tax nonsense we're stuck with; so if you want to watch, pay for a subscription, just like any other pay TV. But sadly there doesn't seem to be any great deal of momentum behind implementing such sanity at the moment.

      1. Patrician

        My thoughts exactly, why should I pay for freeloaders and why should those freeloaders be treated nicely? That's not to say I like the TV License system as it stands, but I do watch a few TV programmes on BBC so accept I should pay to do so.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Oh Homer

          Re: "why should I pay for freeloaders"

          Funny, but that's exactly what I was thinking about the TVL thugs who steal money via fraudulent legal threats and criminal harassment, from people who do not actually watch the BBC, just so a handful of cultural elitists can enjoy a state-protected relic that apparently is not good enough to survive in the free market.

          1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

            Re: "why should I pay for freeloaders"

            @Oh Homer "a handful of cultural elitists can enjoy a state-protected relic that apparently is not good enough to survive in the free market"

            As I am not resident in the UK, I choose to pay for BBC content by subscription, and I have a choice of other content. In general, a BBC documentary is so much better than a Discovery Channel "there's this cool research we could tell you about in 5 minutes, but we have a 45 minute slot with 20 minutes of advertising" program. Then there's the problem of how the service providers bundle the channels so that I still pay for junk I don't watch, and then they renegotiate their licensing deals every few years so that I get "equivalent" channels.

            TL;DR: The "free market" for content isn't, it's a failure. The BBC produces quality content.

            I don't know what the solution is. You can call me a cultural elitist now.

      2. jasper pepper


        The free-loader is the bbc, anyone watching (and by the way I don't) ITV or Sky or the many foreign channels by satellite is deemed liable to pay the bbc as well, now that is free-loading. No other organisation would get away with it. Imagine you buy your Guardian only to be told you have to pay for the Times as well. It is a nonsense, an aberration, a relic from the days before the internet and satellites, only surviving because it has been going on since 1926.

        1. Grunchy

          Re: Free-Loading

          Are you Blighties allowed to discuss issues like this with your elected representative somehow?

          Here in Canada we are free to do this, sometimes. But you might want to "watch it".

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        won't get flamed by me (or as it seems by most posters on here!) I agree with you. But the main trouble with the system as it stands is its a license based system. And where ever you have a license there are always freeloaders who don't pay it, meaning it costs us who do more. So its quite simple if you can't afford a TV license don't watch the fecking telly (or BBC anyway)! Its YOUR choice. And all this bolloxs that gets talked about people going to jail for the crime of not paying a TV license is carp. You'll be given chance after chance after chance to pay up. If it lands up going all the way to court quite frankly you deserve to do time, where you can watch as much TV as you want and don't have to pay for a license!

        I would get rid of the license and fund the BBC out of general taxation, with the amount they get being linked to a figure + CPI- whatever and enshrined in law so future governments will find it more difficult to tinker with how much the Beeb gets

        1. big_D Silver badge

          In Germany the licence (GEZ) is pretty much the same as in the UK, except that it applies to anyone who has a PC or mobile device with an Internet connection, as well as TV owners. You don't have to watch the state sponsored networks, just the fact you have a device capable of watching TV or streamed video is enough to warrant paying for a licence.

          At least they have stopped charging for each invididual device and person in the house. You now pay a flat rate for the house.

          1. RcTomcat

            They changed the System a while back.

            Now every household has to pay the fee, no matter if they own a PC/TV/Radio

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          This would also

          cut out a great deal of the cost of funding paying for all the collections, payments, debt recovery etc. associated with it.

          Closer to ability to pay, and spread across more people reducing personal cost, and fairer in households with more than one taxpayer (as it's a household tax not personal)

          I am up for this on one potentially significant caveat that it does not increase government interference with the delivery of the service, and further that government does not stich up the BBC with paying for infrastructure that's nothing to do with their offering or strategic aims...i.e. rolling out digital etc.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Anyone paying for a TV Licence is frankly an idiot, why?

          1. The BBC has broken its charter innumerable times, especially blatantly disallowed political involvement e.g. with the EU!

          2. The license trolls are so easy to block, you just promptly say NO at the door and promptly shut the door, it isn't even enough if they somehow see you watching TV; they must coerce/trick you to into signing a statement that you watched TV, only this statement/contract enables a court case against them; without it they can't do shit, so everyone taken to court over this must be emotionally compromised (much more likely with women), naive or plain stupid!

          Taxation is not OK because the BBC was started as a brainwashing vehicle, it's charter is a sham and their content quality has become so poor now that I can't tolerate anything from them now, even Doctor Who and Science programming. The BBC is an decrepit ass which should be put out of it's misery.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well, in Italy my RAI canone (TV license) is now paid via the 'leccy bill.

        I just noticed that ENI added a TV related €18 to the March 2017 bill.

        The very nice Italian state informed me that they have reduced the annual Italian TV license to €90 for 2017, so I guess I will be making another 4 bi-monthly payments of €18. This has happened automatically, I didn't need to do anything. I didn't even notice if I actually paid last-year.

        Meanwhile, my kid at a Swiss university, dear BILLAG AG, really hasn't got a TV, so he doesn't owe you CHF451.- per year , every year , for his non-existent fernsehapparat, nope, not even a rappen.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "Personally, I'd support switching to a subscription model, instead of this silly pseudo-tax nonsense we're stuck with; so if you want to watch, pay for a subscription,"

        Jeez, no. Would everyone have to buy a set-top box for every TV in the house and then register and deregister them every time they were sold/disposed of or you bought a new one.

        How would this scale to hotels/prisons etc.

        1. Jess

          Re: Subscription

          The licence used to be a tax on reception of broadcasts. (Streaming live counting as the same.)

          Now it also is required for catch up iPlayer, that has broken that logical model.

          Ideally we would have a Sky style subscription for the BBC.

          However, since this would require a huge re-investment in equipment, this is not feasible just like that.

          In the interim (which would realistically have to be at least a decade).

          Streaming of non-BBC live TV should not require a licence - (simple to implement)

          Any new broadcast tech, (e.g 4K) from the BBC would be encrypted and require activation with a TV licence.

          (Any equipment that was only capable of the new system would not need a TV licence to use, except for BBC. Obviously, most kit would still be capable of the current system, so this would be a niche.)

          The unencrypted BBC service would be switched off after 20 years maximum and the TV licence would be replaced by subscription. With reviews for 10 years and 15 years,

          However whatever happens, streaming non BBC TV live should not require a licence.

    3. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Several of crapita's brave chicken inspectors have been successfully prosecuted for aggaravated tresspass.

      The whole thing is a mess - and remember that Crapita are contracted to TV licensing Limited - which is a private company wholly owned by the BBC and not beholden to such things as FOI law.

      The idea of a private company being able to undertake _criminal_ prosecutions whilst acting under delegated government authority without being accountable for its activities sticks in the craw.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        'Contract' companies

        You know the ones I'm meaning. The ones who seem to hoover up loads of things that people used to do who worked for real companies. Cos they can do it cheaper, and nearly always shitter, by paying people less, and cutting corners. I dunno, leaves a bad taste for me, seems like a race to the bottom, cheapness over quality of service and of life of people. I mean, what are we all here for? So a few at the top can get increasingly rich?

        1. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

          Re: 'Contract' companies

          Always shitter, you can't get the quality of people you get for decent money with less than decent money minus management fees.

      2. Adam 52 Silver badge

        "Several of crapita's brave chicken inspectors have been successfully prosecuted for aggaravated tresspass"

        Struggling to find any evidence for this assertion. I can find civil cases and threats of prosecution, but no actual prosecutions.

      3. tvlicensingblog

        Aggravated trespass

        As far as I'm aware, no Capita TV Licensing goons have been convicted of aggravated trespass. Several have been convicted of theft, fraud etc.

    4. phuzz Silver badge

      "I wouldn't trust crapita to make a decent cup of tea."

      By the sound of it, if they did, they'd jam a tea-bag in your mouth, and then pour boiling water in after. And then celebrate hitting target for the week.

      1. Goit

        It's funny 'cos it true!

    5. macjules Silver badge

      Small wonder that the BBC is known is some circles as 'B*ggered By Capita'.

  2. Nevermind


    ....door-to-door salesmen, styled as “inspectors”

    I wouldn't style them as "salesmen" either...weren't they "enforcement officers" before this make cuddly and fluffy rebrand?

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Salesmen?

      You can't polish a turd.

      1. not.known@this.address Bronze badge

        Re: Salesmen?

        @Aladdin Sane,

        Tell that to the "writers" at EastEnders.

      2. Haku

        Re: Salesmen?

        It turns out you can polish a turd, but that doesn't stop it being a turd, or leaving you with dirty hands.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Salesmen?

        But you can roll it in sprinkles

      4. Symon Silver badge

        Re: Salesmen?

        You can lacquer a turd.

    2. Swarthy Silver badge

      Re: Salesmen?

      "Salsemen", "inspectors", "mooks", "thugs", or "enforcers" - take your pick.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Salesmen?

        I think they are more like henchmen - seen as disposable by the guy at the top.

      2. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: Salesmen?

        >"Salsemen", "inspectors", "mooks", "thugs", or "enforcers" - take your pick.

        "Salsemen", "inspectors", "mooks", "thugs", "hitmen",or "enforcers" - take your pick.


        BTW: I pay a license here in France, still get fed ads on TV, though - I hardly ever switch it on ...

  3. Syntax Error


    Women watch more TV than blokes and watch TV during the day. That's why more of them get done for no license.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: TV

      Hmmm..but they're really going after households, and how many couples have a property registered in *his* name? I would have thought that would swing the numbers back towards the male end of the scale

      1. SundogUK

        Re: TV

        Single mums on benefits watching daytime TV.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: TV

          Single mums on benefits watching daytime TV.

          Clearly the solution is to send them all to jail and let the state raise their offspring.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: TV

      Thanks to deneral demographics, women are more likely to be home during the day and thanks to general society norms, less likely to whip out a camera when confronted on the doorstop (at which point the crapita droid will RUN, _not_ walk away in an effort to not be identified)

      This is flat-out institutionalised bullying.

      1. PatientOne

        Re: TV

        I would have expected it to be the primary resident that would be summoned, not the person who answers the door.

        If this is the case then we need different data points to understand what is happening. Is this a case of women not thinking of getting a license when men do? Or that men are more likely to pay up if confronted over the lack of license? Or that more women are more likely to be the owner or primary tenant than men?

        The 16yr old could be the primary tenant at that property, possibly bought for her by rich parents - we don't know. Equally, it could be a shared house and she has a TV in her lockable room - which requires a separate license (Some thing common amongst students sharing a house). All we've been told is a 16yr old living in a £400,000 house didn't have a TV license.

        Yes, Crapita's approach is typical of their business model (maximise income v minimal effort and charge for everything, including all inbound phone calls, and I bet they'd try charging for any calls they make to you, too, if they could). Yes, they are bullies. No, this doesn't mean they're targetting one particular demographic. Doesn't mean they're not but we don't have the right information to support such a conclusion.

        1. cantankerous swineherd

          Re: TV

          wrong, they prosecute the person that opens the door and confesses to watching TV on unlicensed premises. hence the 16 year old.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: TV

        less likely to whip out a camera when confronted on the doorstop (at which point the crapita droid will RUN, _not_ walk away in an effort to not be identified)

        Interesting - that is an extra use case for CCTV covering the doorstep (which I already have).

      3. Esme

        Re: TV

        Also, women still tend to be paid less than men, and so are more likely to find it hard to find the money for things like TV licences. Shelter, food, and electricty will come first before even thinking about a TV licence. I'm not sugegsting that all women who don;t have a TV licence are unable to pay, but I;d be surprised if it wasn;t a higher proportion than for men.

        But the way that folk are chased about TV licences never has been good. Thirty years ago, I had no television for three years, but received increasingly threateningletters about non-payment of TV licence fee. I had to resort to threatening to sue them for demanding money inappropriately (I had no TV, so no licence needed) with menaces in order to stop the buggers from sending me nasty and very worrying letters.

        It's a combination of Crapita bullying those they regard as most vulnerable, and social inequality, as well as some percentage of freeloaders, IMHO.

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: TV

      Employment rate for women is 70%, for men it is 79.3% -

      Unemployment is slightly lower for women than for men. Most of the increase in employment rate over the last few years is attributable to women joining the workforce.

      If you turn up at a house during working hours, you would expect to find 3 women for every two men, so women are still over represented even when you adjust for that.

      I personally never watch linear TV, everything is downloaded or on-demand streaming.

    4. Ian 55

      Re: TV

      It's always been why a large chunk of women are in prison: non payment of fines for not having a TV licence.

  4. TheTick

    The bastards target whoever they think might be vulnerable, whether female or not.

    End this insanely illiberal tax now.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      re: End this insanely illiberal tax now.

      It's almost like the goverment want crapita employed to do this to encourage outrage at this "illiberal tax".

      I pay tax towards all sorts of services that I don't currently use, that doesn't make those taxes illiberal. I don't see the BBC as any different. You may not want to consume their services but having a national broadcaster who's required to be unbiased is definitely better than just giving Rupert and his ilk total control of our media.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: re: End this insanely illiberal tax now.



        Get a load of this guy! All the native advertising, all of the time.

      2. Moosh

        Re: re: End this insanely illiberal tax now.

        Pardon me, but the BBC is CLEARLY biased. It is incredibly liberal leaning.

        Not only that, its reporting quality has gone severely downhill. Its honestly becoming more like buzzfeed with each passing day.

        When you are bombarded with the same viewpoint day after day, it ceases to be news. It becomes propaganda.


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