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. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      "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
          Mushroom

          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

        Free-Loading

        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

        Subscription

        "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
      Joke

      "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

    Salesmen?

    ....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
        Coat

        Re: Salesmen?

        You can lacquer a turd.

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/aug/05/stewart-lee-edinburgh-comedy-prices-mcintyre

    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.

        TFTFY

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

  3. Syntax Error

    TV

    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% - https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/bulletins/uklabourmarket/feb2017

      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.

        BBC

        Unbiased

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

      2. Moosh
        Flame

        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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re: End this insanely illiberal tax now.

          "Liberal leaning" Correct, as in neoliberal right-leaning.

        2. Smooth Newt
          Thumb Up

          Re: re: End this insanely illiberal tax now.

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

          Right wing people complain vociferously about the BBC being left wing or "liberal". e.g. http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2016-10-03/bbc-should-admit-to-its-liberal-bias-and-introduce-a-right-wing-hour-to-radio-4-says-david-baddiel

          Left wing people complain vociferously about the BBC being right wing. e.g. http://www.thecanary.co/2016/10/31/bbcs-bias-obvious-origin-groundbreaking-academic-just-brought-light-video/

          Since both sides complain equally stridently, I can't help feeling that the BBC's balance must be about right.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: BBC

            <del>BBC's balance about right</del>

            er. . . but what about the Gap Propaganda. . . what about the Authoritarian Statism . . .all the Richard Whiteley's. . .

            /rants for another 94 paragraphs

            sigh

          2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

            Re: re: End this insanely illiberal tax now.

            That assumes a simple left - right model. It's perfectly feasible that the BBC could be economically statist and personally liberal or economically liberal and personally statist. Given it's a government corporation it's somewhat unlikely to be the latter and more probably the former with some personal statism sprinkled in here and there.

          3. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

            Re: re: End this insanely illiberal tax now.

            > Since both sides complain equally stridently

            Seems logical. It reminds me of the quote (not sure from who) that goes something like "The thing about being in the middle of the road is that you'll get knocked down by traffic coming from both sides"

        3. MikeGrant
          FAIL

          Re: re: End this insanely illiberal tax now.

          FFS. Nobody's taping your eyelids open and forcing you to watch the communistic propaganda of the BBC.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @sabroni Re: re: End this insanely illiberal tax now.

        The BBC chose to contract Capita. There is no government requirement that capita be involved in collection activities.

      4. TheTick

        Re: re: End this insanely illiberal tax now.

        "I pay tax towards all sorts of services that I don't currently use, that doesn't make those taxes illiberal."

        Actually all taxes are illiberal so perhaps I should just have stated "End this f*cking tax now!"

  5. DavCrav Silver badge

    Men are 22 times as likely as women to be imprisoned. We should do something to correct this imbalance.

    Or something.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      We should do something to correct this imbalance.

      Stop committing crimes?

      1. SundogUK

        Re: We should do something to correct this imbalance.

        Like all these women watching TV without a license...

    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      Take Estrogen? On the other hand scratch that, the world does not need any more hot flushes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Estrogen will just makes them grow breasts along with other undesirable effects. See Alan Turing for a good example of why this is not a good idea.

        Chemical castration by means of reducing androgens, might work on the other hand. But I don't really believe in 'toxic masculinity'.

    3. MonkeyCee Silver badge

      "Men are 22 times as likely as women to be imprisoned. We should do something to correct this imbalance."

      Perhaps men should stop committing the majority of crime. 98% convicted rapists are men. Roughly 80% of those convicted of assault, burglary, robbery and domestic violence are male. Same for vehicular theft, vandalism and handling stolen property.

      White collar crimes are a bit more equal, although men are usually more likely (60-40) to have been convicted off them. Embezzlement, fraud that sort of thing.

      That women generally get lighter sentences is an issue, but it's not enough to explain the differences in prison population.

      As for the telly licence convictions, partially due to women being less likely to tell a person at their door to fuck off. Which tends to be my default if they are trying to sell anything.

      I've let the cops in when they ask nicely, without a court order, but only because I'd rather they didn't decide I was uncooperative.

      1. Oliver Mayes

        "98% convicted rapists are men"

        Because most courts refuse to accept that it's possible for a woman to rape a man. It normally gets reduced to assault instead.

        1. not.known@this.address Bronze badge
          Headmaster

          "Because most courts refuse to accept that it's possible for a woman to rape a man."

          The legal definition of rape is "penetration of the v*g*n*by the p*n*s". So, legally speaking, it really is impossible for a woman to rape a man (asterisked to avoid the draconian Internet filter where I work).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            The legal definition needs to catch up with the real world.

          2. Ogi

            >>"Because most courts refuse to accept that it's possible for a woman to rape a man.

            >The legal definition of rape is "penetration of the v*g*n*by the p*n*s". So, legally speaking, it really is impossible for a woman to rape a man (asterisked to avoid the draconian Internet filter where I work).

            Yes, I seem to remember hearing about similar (my ex was a lawyer). Due to the definition, a lot of female/female rapes are not classed as rape but sexual assault, even if forced penetration occured.

            > 98% convicted rapists are men.

            It does make me wonder though, if women are incapable of rape due to missing the required equipment to rape (by legal definition), what on earth did the 2% non-men do to be convicted of rape? Or does that refer to those of a different "gender identity" in a male body?

          3. Hollerithevo Silver badge

            Rape as defined

            Yes, rape cannot 'officially' happen between two men or two women. Forcible, unwanted entry by body parts or other things can be made, but it is assault, not rape. In a sense, 'rape' is an incredibly old-fashioned view of a crime. Assault is assault is assault.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Rape as defined

              "Assault by penetration"

              Penalty: The offence is indictable only with maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

              Code for Crown Prosecutors - considerations

              This offence is in essence similar to rape and a prosecution is almost certainly required in the public interest.

              DPP: Rape and Sexual Offences:

              Chapter 2: Sexual Offences Act 2003 - Principal Offences, and

              Sexual Offences Act 1956 - Most commonly charged offences

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "Assault by penetration"

                We seriously need an "Assault by Engulfing" law to restore equality.

              2. Adam 52 Silver badge

                Re: Rape as defined

                "Assault by penetration

                Penalty: The offence is indictable only with maximum penalty of life imprisonment"

                Thank goodness. One person on the whole thread who actually knows what they're talking about.

                See also:

                http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2003/42/section/2

          4. TheProf

            v*g*n*by the p*n*s

            Vegans pants?

            1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

              @TheProf

              I think that should be Vogons by the pints

          5. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "The legal definition of rape is "penetration of the v*g*n*by the p*n*s". "

            There are several possible orifices involved in the legal definition of rape (at least in England and Wales.).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Equality...

        A giant pink elephant just walked past my window and suggested that women commit as many crimes as men but you don't see many female judges, so a quick sob and a quivering lip means the old duffers on the bench take pity on the miscreant and she gets let off.

        Of course, this could never happen in the real world since we know there's no such thing as giant pink elephants and women are never drunk and disorderly, rude, offensive or violent, they never shoplift or pick pockets, never gouge people's eyes or crack someone's skull with a stiletto heel ...

        1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

          Re: Equality...

          Do you really think a girlish quivering lip would move 99% of judges these days? Most of the 'old school' judges are as misogynistic as hell, and have you looked at how many judges are women?

        2. strum Silver badge

          Re: Equality...

          > a quick sob and a quivering lip means the old duffers on the bench take pity on the miscreant and she gets let off

          It's not just the old duffers on the bench. I was a juror in a drugs'n'guns case at the Bailey. The male perps were quickly banged up (and thoroughly deserved to be), but the 21-y-o, tasty totty was 'interviewed' in the detective's back seat for three-quarters of an hour, before going free.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Equality...

          Of course, this could never happen in the real world since we know there's no such thing as giant pink elephants and women ... never carry a Stanley knife in their handbag...

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        >98% convicted rapists are men

        Only a man can commit rape in UK law, so that's a surprisingly low statistic.

      4. boltar Silver badge

        "Perhaps men should stop committing the majority of crime."

        Whoooosh.......

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Capita have just fallen out of the FTSE 100 this quarter. Is it too much to hope it's the start of a long decline in their fortunes? A rapid decline would be too much to hope for.

  7. Solarflare

    How..

    ...does 'x% of people were of y demographic' automatically become 'y demographic are being actively targetted'? Fine, 2/3rds of the (rather small number of) prosecutions were women. What percentage had two legs? If that's 100%, are they 'unfairly tagetting the abled'?

    1. TheTick

      Re: How..

      @Solarflare

      I think there are on average about 150,000 prosecutions a year for the telly tax. It's 10% of all prosecutions in the type of court where this thing is done apparently. It was a while since I saw the story but it's around those numbers as I recall.

      So not a rather small number by any measure.

      1. Solarflare

        Re: How..

        Perhaps I could have been clearer, but I was referring to El Reg's own figures:

        "The Register analysed three months of listings data from the City of London Magistrates’ Court. Of the 62 individual defendants who appeared in court charged with not paying the TV Licence over that period, two-thirds – 42 – were female."

        I wasn't using an annual or total figure or anything. 62 people is a small data set.

        1. PatientOne
          Joke

          Re: How..

          42...

          where have I heard that number before... something significant about that...

          (Yes, just coincidence, but... live, the universe and all that...)

  8. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Yup. I don't require a TV license, but...

    I'm having this argument with them at the moment and have received the "We're going to start investigation" letter which I promptly shoved in the bin, but only after noting that apparently the only way to "stop the investigation" was to buy a TV licence. Which is a pile of totally incorrect threatening boll**ks as I don't actually need one.

    So... so far I've had one bloke round who I refused entry to. This was after he threatened that if I didn't let him in they would just send more people round. I replied with a reminder to him of my (and his) rights and a fanfare of "bring it on, you'll soon get the message" and that it would allow me to start to build a nice harrassment case against them. He sloped off.

    As a civil collection agency, I categorically refuse to provide my personal details to them or tow their line, and I am very much looking forward to round 2.

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Yup. I don't require a TV license, but...

      You are a civil collection agency? Wouldn't you have to toe your own line?

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: Yup. I don't require a TV license, but...

      Have you formally revoked their implied right of access to thr land between the pavement and your front door?

      May be worth doing.

      TV Licencing people used to be reasonable, seems that Capita have done their usual :(

    3. Jess

      Re: civil collection agency

      Wrong sort of civil

      It was uncivil letters that that made me decide not to every get a TV licence again. (Though I suspect I would have dropped it eventually anyway).

      When the post office stopped selling licences, it became tricky to buy a monochrome licence. I tried several Paypoints (or whatever they are) and none could sell me a replacement. I was working away from home at the time and realised I didn't actually need one legally, the TV (b & w portable) was laying on its side unplugged and had been for months. (I was happy enough to pay because I used iPlayer a little, but certainly not enough to justify a colour licence).

      I didn't bother renewing, and got a load of letters basically accusing me of being a criminal, they went in the bin, and I gave the TV to my parents for their caravan.

      Had they sent a polite letter, I would have replied explaining the situation and asking where to buy a mono TV licence.

      If anyone ever comes round (that was quite a few years ago, and I have heard nothing, the letters dried up after a couple of years). Then if they are civil, then I will explain the situation, but probably not let them in (unless the house actually happened to be tidy), if not they will get told to leave with no information.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yup. I don't require a TV license, but...

      "apparently the only way to "stop the investigation" was to buy a TV licence"

      You can go on the TV licensing portal and tell them you don't need a licence. Worked for me - they didn't send any more letters after that - at least for the year or so before I had to get a licence again.

  9. smudge Silver badge

    Two-thirds of TV Licensing prosecutions in a London court were brought against women

    Our weekly local newspaper in Hertfordshire lists cases from the town's Magistrates Court. I noticed a long time ago that 75% or more prosecuted licence evaders were women, and I often wonder why this should be so.

    Looks as though it may be a widespread phenomenon.

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Two-thirds of TV Licensing prosecutions in a London court were brought against women

      >Looks as though it may be a widespread phenomenon.

      Imagine, you work for Crapita to "enforce" TV license and you have the choice paying a visit to one of these two:

      1. Single woman

      2. Heavy weight boxing champion

      Which of the two would you pick ? Remember, you get commission. It is SO MUCH MORE easier to scare a woman with this crap.

  10. graeme leggett

    the Campaign to end the BBC Licence Fee

    From the petition by Caroline Lévesque-Bartlett

    "It doesn't have to be this way:

    - Canada, United States, Australia, Hong Kong, Luxembourg, Monaco and Spain don't have TV licence fees. Presumably its national TV is paid by taxes, in which case it's paid proportionally to each individual's income. "

    Anyone who can't be arsed to research how these countries finance public broadcasting (even if they have to look it up on Wikipedia) and doesn't offer a solution is wasting our time.

    She also seems to be suggesting that instead of those who watch paying, that everyone pays via taxation by the government. But in an earlier paragraph to the petition she says "The nature of the licence fee as a tax could lead to the BBC being manipulated by the government in power with the threat of withholding funds if information damaging to that government was made public" which is contradictory.

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: the Campaign to end the BBC Licence Fee

      You seen the quality of TV in America? Credits, ad break, ten minutes, ad break, quick scene, ad break etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: the Campaign to end the BBC Licence Fee

        I don't watch TV in america, and I also don't watch TV in the UK.

        I have no idea about the quality of either.

        I also don't pay for either of them.

        I do keep getting letters from some licencing agency suggesting that I really ought to give it a go though... maybe next year if I find the time.

        1. gnasher729 Silver badge

          Re: the Campaign to end the BBC Licence Fee

          That's why we have Freeview in the UK. You record it, and when you watch it you skip over the adverts. Just a pain when you watch a program live (that is when it is transmitted).

      2. cantankerous swineherd

        Re: the Campaign to end the BBC Licence Fee

        who gives a damn? if TVs crap, don't watch it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: the Campaign to end the BBC Licence Fee

          "who gives a damn? if TVs crap, don't watch it."

          Who gives a damn? Anyone (like me) who hasn't owned a TV for years, yet still gets a never ending stream of harrassing letters and threats of prosecution.

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            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.

      3. Neil Charles

        Re: the Campaign to end the BBC Licence Fee

        Fewer ads on on British telly has got nothing to do with the licence fee. Ofcom enforces a limit of 7 minutes of adverts per hour on average across a day and a maximum of 12 minutes in any one hour.

        1. strum Silver badge

          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.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. Alien8n Silver badge

      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.

    2. NonSSL-Login

      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.

    3. Swiss Anton
      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?

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        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.

    4. Roland6 Silver badge

      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.

  12. Bob Rocket

    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

    1. Alien8n Silver badge

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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...

        1. Patrician

          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?

          1. cantankerous swineherd

            Re: Privatise it

            views on shape of the earth differ.

            &copy; p. krugman

          2. David Nash Silver badge

            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.

            1. Patrician

              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 ....

        2. Triggerfish

          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.

      2. Bob Rocket

        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.

    2. Patrician

      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?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        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...

  13. Anonymous Coward
    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.

  14. Seanmon

    Stopped reading when you quoted the Daily Mail.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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.

      1. gazthejourno (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.

        1. strum Silver badge

          >There is no other source than the Mail itself.

          Wouldn't touch it with a barge pole.

    2. Buzzword

      Daily Mail

      > living in a £400,000 house

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

      1. gazthejourno (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.

        1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: Daily Mail

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

          1. Richard 12 Silver badge

            Re: Daily Mail

            Not in print. Yet.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    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.

    1. David Nash Silver badge

      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 (?)

    2. cantankerous swineherd

      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.

    3. Grunchy

      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)

      1. JulieM Silver 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.)

  16. King Jack
    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.

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      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.

      1. Adam 52 Silver badge

        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

  17. gnasher729 Silver badge

    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?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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

  18. nsld
    Coat

    Wait a minute

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

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Wait a minute

      Don't be a jackass.

      1. nsld

        Re: Wait a minute

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

  19. Fihart

    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.

  20. jasper pepper

    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/

  21. 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.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      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).

      1. 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.

  22. Toltec

    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?

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      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.

  23. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    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...

  24. 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

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Cheaper, yes, but the whole point of the licence is that the BBC's revenue stream is separate from the government of the day, so that they are seen to be independent. No special receiving equipment (beyond a set top box for older TVs) is required to watch the channel.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I don't buy that argument that if its paid for by normal taxation then governments might be able to tamper with it. The license should go (to stop the free loaders from not paying) and to save cash by not having to have all the CAPITA BS, etc Fund it out of taxation but have it set in law that the BBC will be guaranteed its funding every year at a level of a figure + CPI, etc This would then make it very difficult for any government to "adjust" funding to suit its own agenda

        1. strum Silver badge

          >have it set in law

          You can't 'set' anything in law, that a future government can't unset. And they would.

      2. tiggity Silver badge

        Seen to be indy

        Theoretically independent

        But they rarely do anything much to inconvenience the government of the day, a few token gestures of pretending independence with the occasional govt critical piece but pretty much govt don't rock the boat lapdog.

        Take news coverage, there has been plenty of "major" news this week or so that has various ramifications, everything from latest Trump team / Russia issues, NORKS very public "No Big Brother" behavior, rocket up the generals etc. and closer to home quite an important election over the Irish sea & lots of unrest over hard Brexit.

        ..However, whenever I caught BBC news it seemed obsessed with Oscars run up then results / envelopes issues, the sort of stuff that once would have been the light, amusing "and finally" feel good ending to the news is now the lead story.

        Bread and circuses via the BBC

    2. Brenda McViking

      RE:Confused of Canada

      So to try to answer your question: there is very specific wording that governs the TV licence. The BBC have a charter, which ensures it is at arms length from the government, is not wholey funded by the taxpayer, and also has rules governing how it is to operate such as being available to all. This also prevents it using general taxation or subscription methods to be funded (though this could change with a change in laws). The charter is renewed every 10 years, and has been deliberately set up to preserve the status quo.

      The rules:

      In order to watch TV programmes as they are being broadcast in the UK, you must have a TV licence. As of last year, to watch iPlayer (the video on demand service of the BBC) you must have a TV licence.

      If you don't fall into those two categories, you don't have to have a licence. So for me, I have Netflix & Amazon subscriptions and only watch TV on demand and not iPlayer - i don't require a licence. I have TVs but they're all for console gaming or watching DVDs. I still don't require a licence.

      Personally I would object to having to pay the BBCs bills because I don't use their content.

      Would it work out cheaper if paid via general taxation? probably. But then I would have to pay and the selfish type of capitalist I am, I don't want to pay for something I don't use, nor, in my opinion, find of benefit to the public at large. (Though you'd find plenty of my countrymen willing to argue it is of public benefit)

      If they went to a subscription model, you'd still have people like me not paying, the effect of general inertia of the populace and the lack of people succumbing to their threats so it would almost certainly raise costs for those who wanted it if the BBC wanted to maintain it's current level of funding. Not to mention that plenty of people don't watch the BBC but do watch other broadcasters and currently legally have to pay the BBC, and wouldn't have to under subscription.

      So we're stuck in this ridiculous situation where it's an apparently optional cost, requiring significant knowledge of the loopholes to avoid (as I do), and using threats and legally powerless enforcement officers to shake down those who are suspected of evasion. It is very deliberately kept vague as to what rights their enforcers have (actually very few, though they give the impression they are the equivalent of the police with search warrants) and as such, hundreds of people are prosecuted every year when their only way of catching such people is to get them to self-incriminate themselves. Whilst I object to freeloaders, I object more to the enforcement methods which no other organisation would ever get away with, and thus, I (legally) do not pay for a TV Licence.

  25. Marty McFly
    Alert

    Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot!!??

    You need a license in the UK to watch TV?

    Okay, y'all are a sovereign nation and can do what you want. But, I think your government is just a bit overreaching to require a license to watch TV. I hope, for your sake, that Brexit was just the beginning and you continue to remove the layers of government which are controlling you.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot!!??

      I don't want to enter the realm of "ethnic stereotyping" but can we conclude from the "y'all" that you are the US?

      In the UK we have a broadcasting system that provides 3 television channels (BBC 1, 2, & 4) that are transmitted sans advertising. (BBC 3 is now on - line only.) Those channels (along with something like 7 radio channels from the same organisation) have to be paid for and it is the licence fee that constitutes that payment. (Your "license" is perhaps another clue as to your whereabouts!)

      If your alternative to our arrangement is the Merkin Model then for my money we'll just stay as we are, thank you very much. And FWIW if I'm going to be "controlled" by someone then I'd rather it was by a layer of government than by Rupert Murdoch and his like. The government does not control the BBC, although it would almost certainly like to; listen to or watch much of the BBC's output and the absence of government control is all too apparent.

      Again FWIW the UK is not unique in requiring a licence.

      1. TheTick

        Re: Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot!!??

        "If your alternative to our arrangement is the Merkin Model then for my money we'll just stay as we are, thank you very much."

        But a great many of us Brits don't want to stay where we are thank you very much. However we are forced to under the threat of violence (ultimately jail if you are stubborn). The only way to avoid is is not to watch TV even if you are not watching BBC.

        Thankfully it's a ton easier now with Netflix etc to get by and I don't pay those b'stards a penny.

        1. strum Silver badge

          Re: Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot!!??

          >under the threat of violence

          Bullshit.

    2. Patrician

      Re: Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot!!??

      I don't think you quite understand the situation here; the license fee covers three terrestrial + one online TV channel and seven (I think) radio stations, all of which are advertising free; a one hour programme on the BBC lasts, pretty much, for an hour with no effort to sell me crap I've no interest in.

    3. JulieM Silver badge

      Re: Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot!!??

      But if quality advertisement-free broadcasting had to be funded from general taxation, then the broadcaster might rightly or wrongly be seen as being somewhat beholden to the government of the day. As things stand, governments have traditionally been afraid of the BBC ("Bolshevik Broadcasting Collective" is what the Conservatives used to refer to it as, and Labour always considered the BBC a Tory mothpiece) although recent events have embarrassed the BBC and emboldened the government.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot!!??

        Well I suppose we could go the American way and instead of having the goverment enforcing things leave it to the corporations, tell me are you in a comcast, AT & T, or Verizon country? sorry I mean operating territory, oops no state thats the word isn't it?

  26. JaitcH
    FAIL

    BBC Licence Tracers Little More Than Thieves

    My late Mother, after she was widowed, was always very reluctant to open the door to strangers,

    One day there is a knock at the door, which she refused to acknowledge, and the knocking persisted for some time during which she persisted in not answering the door.

    The intruder seemingly went to a neighbours, introduced himself, provided ID and commenced to acquire a physical description of my Mother - all second hand.

    A few weeks later she was summonsed to court and in her stead she was represented by my brother.

    The 'complaint' was wholly fabricated by the Licence Enforcer but made believable by him describing someone he had never met. My brother produced her birth certificate (which made her 87 at the time of the 'offence') along with an Affidavit from a TV repair person that stated the signal level in that part Buckinghamshire required an external antenna and that there was none. The witness further attested to the fact the only TV set was in a closet, that was filled with bric-a-brac and dust and not in working condition.

    Licence Enforcers are nothing less than crooks without shame.

    The case was dismissed with costs against the Enforcer, personally!

    1. Swarthy Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: BBC Licence Tracers Little More Than Thieves

      I love a happy ending.

  27. MJI Silver badge

    Anything to ruin crapita

    BBC is pretty good, best we have as a traditional broadcaster in the UK, general taxation would be better for me financially and also worse for Crapita (good) but it is independant of the government and is more or less neutral.

    As above left wingers say right wing and right wingers say left, means they must be in the middle.

    they also keep ITV and C4 honest.

    The idea of all channels like ITV fills me full of horror

  28. JulieM Silver badge

    Big opportunity missed

    I think a big opportunity was missed recently. With the switch-over from analogue to digital broadcasting, it should have been mandated from day one that every receiver (including set-top boxes) must incorporate a smartcard reader, so that the BBC channels could eventually have been broadcast scrambled.

    That would mean that if you didn't pay, you couldn't watch, and no need for enforcement mobs. It would also alter the payment model from per-household to per-set; but cards could be swapped about as required in houses with more TVs than people. It wouldn't necessarily be less fair, just different.

    And I speak in the capacity of someone who lived for awhile without a TV set, and was falsely assumed to be watching without paying, and someone whose family income while growing up derived ultimately from the TV licence payer.

    1. Jonathon Desmond

      Re: Big opportunity missed

      The opportunity wasn't missed at all. It was avoided by a country mile.... Greg Dyke saw to that on purpose.

      Freeview was deliberately designed so as to not support smartcards, making it easier for the BBC to resist any potential push to a subscription model.

      https://www.theguardian.com/media/2004/sep/17/broadcasting.digitaltv

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/why-sky-is-not-the-limit-112213.html

      http://www.tvlicenceresistance.info/forum/index.php?topic=2.5

      .... And, of course, you could read his book. I wouldn't recommend it though.

      1. strum Silver badge

        Re: Big opportunity missed

        >Freeview was deliberately designed so as to not support smartcards,

        Twaddle. 'Freeview' wasn't designed by the Beeb. They took over an already-existing system (OnDigital), which expressly _did_ support smart cards. My first Humax had a card slot.

        1. Jonathon Desmond

          Re: Big opportunity missed

          At least I had the courtesy to quote some sources in my comment rather than 'I used to own...'

          It's not twaddle. The point was that by building and deploying a system that did not use smart cards or encryption (and that was the main difference between Freeview and ITVDigital) there is an incredible amount of consumer inertia now built up making it almost impossible to switch to a BBC subscription model over DTV anytime soon. All those TVs with built in tuners that would suddenly become useless.....

          Which was the whole idea. Greg Dyke admits it in his book. Go and read it if you don't believe me, but I did try to save you!

  29. Grunchy

    James May Reassembler

    Hey.......

    I've been watching James May programmes off youtube here in Canada, including that one episode when he put a toy train back together for entertainment.

    Am I supposed to be paying youse guys?

    You're not gonna send me a big bill to pay or something are ya. Dang it.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: James May Reassembler

      Nope. Either the YouTube advertising fees are going to BBC Worldwide, or it's an infringement of their copyright and will eventually get taken down in the perpetual game of whack-a-mole.

      In the UK the BBC has no adverts at all - and no product placement either.

      In other countries BBC programmes are sold by BBC Worldwide to various broadcasters, mostly advert-driven.

      1. Tachikoma

        Re: James May Reassembler

        BBC has plenty of adverts, for its own stuff and there's plenty of product placement and endorsement. Just look at the disproportionate amount of positive coverage Apple get both on the BBC news website, BBC Click, news, etc, funnily enough most of the presenters use Apple products, and I'm sure they paid full price for them, honest. Then there's things like the Book Review which is just licence payer funded advertising for the author.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: James May Reassembler

          If you want to take that to the nth degree then talk shows are about nothing more than flogging stuff, and music radio is nothing more than an advert-fest for new releases, intertwined with interviews with anyone else with an "interesting" story to tell that invariably links to flogging something.

  30. earl grey Silver badge
    Stop

    who opens their door to strangers?

    I'm not too worried about it, but don't expect wife or kids to ever open the door to strangers.

    You missed the "no trespassing" sign?

    I don't know you...you need to leave now before the sheriff gets here.

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: who opens their door to strangers?

      jesus, American paranoia, there's nothing like it...

      Strangely enough, here in the UK I have no qualms about opening my metroland front door to complete strangers, just because they're strangers. The world's full of people I've not met yet, but I don't lie awake worrying that they're planning to murder me, because that would be insane. I don't actually know who's knocking until I open it, anyway, there's no spyhole. But that's because no-one don't knock on the door then burst in and beats up and/or robs the inhabitants. Does that happen in the US? Seriously?

  31. JulieM Silver badge
    Boffin

    Why women?

    So what factors might be causing women to be over-represented among licence evaders?

    1. The enforcement gangs, who are paid by results, find women easier targets.

    2. Single men are more likely than single women to pay their TV licences.

    3. Single men are more likely than women successfully to evade paying the TV licence.

    4. In two-parent families with one parent staying at home to look after the children during the daytime when enforcement officers are most likely to call, it is more likely to be the father who is out at work and the mother who ends up taking responsibility.

    5. Single men are more likely than single women to live without a TV.

    6. This is just so much more Beeb-bashing from the rich, advertisement-funded private media.

    It's an interesting question .....

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: Why women?

      (7) chance?

  32. Herby Silver badge

    fees and the like...

    Well, here in the good 'ol USA somethings have fees. In my case I have a nice XM (satellite) radio, and I pay a nice fee on a quarterly basis. I gave them my receiver number (a 32 bit hex encoded thingy), and they let my receiver work. If they didn't receive the $$$ (I turned off the credit card, or some such), I suspect that my nice radio (I listen to a '60s radio channel) would go silent.

    It is a wonder that the beeb didn't have this for TVs and license fees. It would have eliminated all sorts of problems, and enforcement stuff.

    Yes, some most american TV is a wasteland. In one hour we only get 45 minutes of actual TV worth viewing, but it does pay the bills. My wife likes her TiVo so she can skip the nasty stuff at high speed. Then again, every once in a while (it is rare!) an advert is amusing, or (shudder) informative. Life goes on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: fees and the like...

      I live about 600 miles south of London.

      I point a dish at the Clarke-belt and receive & watch around fifty BBC/UK non encrypted TVs signals.

      I do not pay Crapita for a UK tv-license, the door-to-door guy hasn't been round recently.

      It's called "FreeSat" and it is free. . . .some weeks there are three or four interesting programmes shown!

  33. Andy Tunnah

    It's HOW much?!

    Honestly didn't know how much a TV license is. There is no way in HELL I'd pay that much, even if I did watch the Beeb

    (I don't have a license because I don't watch TV, nor do a I stream it. Torrent it a lot though..)

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i own several kitchen knives.. does that make me...

    ...a serial killer? Every household is assumed guilty.

    . read the rules.. if you have a device for ps3, dont install i player. dont have a subscription to sky or cable tv, netflix or amazon..etc.

    . i use my device for pc, and games console and DVD / BLURAY.

    . Don't invite them in.

    . Don't open the door - shout though it if necessary

    . If you do decide to enage (via the closed door) repeat the words out loud "No thank you. i don't need one. Go away" as you would with any other uninvited doorstep hassler.

    .Ignore the junk mail. Dont bother reading i. I signed one once saying i don't need a license.. then a few months later it all started again. .. dont bother with it.

    .I own a computer... does that make me a hacker? - don't be guilted or intimidated bt aggressive tactics.

    .Be firm in your assurance.

    .Offer nothing in any way. It's a doorway to counter argument.

    .Be polite, yet also dismissive.

    .Good luck! :)

  35. Cheshire Cat
    Thumb Up

    Seems a good deal to me

    Those of us outside the UK are wondering why UK people complain about paying only $145/year for access to the whole of the BBC. I would gladly pay so little for such a huge number of advertising-free decent programs.

    Try living in Au/NZ for a bit with only Sky at 50 quid/month that is 40% advertising by time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seems a good deal to me

      "Try living in Au/NZ for a bit with only Sky at 50 quid/month that is 40% advertising by time."

      SKY Subscription is optional. Do you get legally threatening letters because you don't subscribe to SKY?

      Theres a difference between threats and marketing material.

      If you did, you would just vpn/proxy to sites where the video material is available thereby evading the need for license. But what if you dont use TV at all except for DVD, computing and games console? You're sill liable to intimidation tactics.

      You dont know how good you have it. Try living in the UK .

      1. Hans 1 Silver badge

        Re: Seems a good deal to me

        >Try living in the UK .

        No way in hell, has nothing to do with TV license, though.

        Mind, I pay 138 euro per year for TV, we pay that as we pay local tax. They have people enforcing the payment of this ... I had no TV for a few years, all I had to do was declare I had no TV, and I did not need to pay. When I then got a new TV, for the kid's console, when you buy you must give name/address/etc ... pretty sure you can BS them, however, you are then alone if you need a warranty on the TV.

        Anyway, 138 euro for TV programs full of French, and a shit load of ads ... thanks, but no ... we don't watch TV but since I have the apparatus to receive, I must pay.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Seems a good deal to me

      $145/year

      ha! you need to do currency conversion

      as of right now: 3/3/2017

      AUD $ 145 AUD = GBP £89.56 GBP

      GBP £145 GBP = AUD $ 234.76 AUD

      but its matters not. The consistent persecution is fundamentally wrong.

    3. Mark York 3 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Seems a good deal to me

      You just gave me a flashback to NTNON - Points of View Sketch.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lzS8yW8INA

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An out of date business model. If BBC want to be paid they need to keep with the times and switch to a subscription model, like most content providers nowadays.

    I don't have a TV license. I have 2 TVs in my home but I don't need a license as they are only connected to Fire TV sticks and the main one is also connected to a PC as a secondary monitor. I don't watch any live TV other than Call the Midwife, which I watch at my partner's home which is covered by a license.

    I've been getting various letters from TV licensing for the past 3 years now and they all instantly go in the bin. If someone comes to the door and I'm not expecting anyone they are ignored.

    I've not been prosecuted for anything. I've done nothing wrong and have no reason to speak to these people.

    A few years back I did watch BBC news and various other live programs and I had a license. I've even appeared on BBC TV (and radio) myself a few times as an expert on a certain subject but I now have nothing to do with them as they are no longer unbiased and most definitely have an agenda.

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      An out of date business model. If BBC want to be paid they need to keep with the times and switch to a subscription model, like most content providers nowadays.

      That's demonstrably false. BBC income is holding up and they're still producing an enormous number of superb unique programmes with it. (Along with a lot of crap, yes, but, I'm a Radio 4 junkie, has a commercial model ever produced a channel of such quality, anywhere? ever?)

  37. Tom Paine Silver badge

    Couple of things

    (1) a bit of basic stats. With a sample size n=60, what's the std deviation for a 40/20 gender split? How likely is that to happen by chance?

    (2) "...a 20-year-old woman living in a £400,000 house in Surrey"

    £400k barely buys a basha in the woods in Surrey, this makes it sound like some sort of mansion.

  38. Colin Tree

    dark ages

    Grow up England

    http://www.freeview.com.au/

    you're living in the dark ages

    what a con

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