Umm

Non-payment of the licence fee is a criminal offence for which more than 100,000 people are prosecuted annually.

That’s what, 7 or 8% of the 1.3 million prosecutions each year?

Labour MPs have said plans to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee should be dropped

Why? Don;t they want to bring the crime rate down?

29 thoughts on “Umm”

  1. Isn’t extortion a criminal offence then? Forcing people to pay for something whether they want it or not.

  2. Not that I want to defend the Licence Fee ( such things arkee wrongs) but actually the price that BBC extorts is quite reasonable. The Austrian fee was about 240Reichsmarks when I left AND it is compulsory to pay for the radio. Also one has to pay the licensing people to own a satellite card to watch any Austrian channel. I think that the Belgies do the same.

  3. Their argument, and I have sympathy with it, is that if it becomes a civil offence the BBC/Capita will start assessing the civil penalties and sending in the bailiffs after non-payment. Fair enough, but maybe we should make it a subscription service.

  4. @Ottokring

    The fact that other countries are more unreasonable doesn’t make the BBC license fee any less egregious. Some of us never watch live TV, don’t even have a TV and still get pestered regularly by the authorities. If the license fee is decriminalised I fully expect the BBC to hit me with a civil penalty and all the hassle. They wouldn’t do that if they had to make a case before a magistrate.

  5. 100K per year?! Surely that statistic is wrong somehow? That’s more than 1% of British households every Parliament. All over less than a couple hundred pounds?!

    If that stat is true then maybe we should extend the direct funding model to other branches of government – sounds like it would do wonders for fighting tax evasion.

  6. As far as I am aware, the license stasi cannot break down your door to check you are infringing. If this is the case, you essentially have to incriminate yourself to get yourself prosecuted, and simply following the tried and tested rule of “never talk to the police”, here extended to any clipboard wielder in a hi-viz imitating a person in authority.

    Are people really sufficiently stupid in such huge numbers to get themselves prosecuted for this? Or am I missing something? Can M’Lud shed any light on the ability of people to dob themselves in unnecessarily?

  7. Are people really sufficiently stupid in such huge numbers to get themselves prosecuted for this?

    Yes.

    As you stated above, telling the telly tax goons to just fuck off is the correct response*. Trying to justify yourself to “the nice man from the beeb” lands you in court.

    *If I am sufficiently bored, and it is raining sufficient cats and dogs, I will let them stand on the doorstep asking questions to which my only answer is (in full): “I don’t need a TV licence.” For some strange reason, they haven’t knocked on my door now for several years. I still get the regular threatening letters though.

  8. @BIG: You are right about the position under criminal law. The BBC Hestapo need evidence to obtain a conviction. The problem under civil law is that they just need to issue a penalty notice to non-payers to start a whole lot of hassle in the civil courts with a lower burden of proof.

  9. The problem under civil law is that they just need to issue a penalty notice to non-payers to start a whole lot of hassle in the civil courts with a lower burden of proof.

    The problem with that sort of thing is that there’s a concept in UK law of “Vexatious Litigant” (and indeed a list of such peeps), which the BBC would rapidly be added to (or at least threatened with it) if they actually did start blanketing all and sundry with demands for license fees which may or may not be due.

    The current process only works because it is largely rubber stamped with the vast majority fined acknowledging watching TV without a license. Those who attempt to defend their cases often fined them being dropped the day before, since the actions of TV Licensing Goons are often questionable and Auntie Beeb doesn’t want a bright light being pointed at their dubious goings on.

    The whole Mike Shakespeare debacle being a case in point, where TV Licensing may or may not have attempted to commit perjury against a particularly egregious legally license free non-payer. The fact that the goons refused to go the whole hog and lie on the stand being almost the only saving grace.

    https://tv-licensing.blogspot.com/2012/04/tv-licensings-vexatious-pursuit-of.html

  10. @ Bloke on the A303
    Before I got married (OK, many years ago) I lived in a block of flats which was served by British Relay (inhabitants were not allowed to have separate aerials) and initially got slightly threatening letters from TV Licensing. The first twice I simply stated that I didn’t have a TV and pointed out that they could check this with British Relay. The third time I threatened to report them to the police for harrassment. They stopped.

  11. @John Galt, nice idea, but in practice Capita would argue that they are submitting thousands of cases a year and they don’t get it right every time, so they are not vexatious litigants. My understanding is that the courts are generally reluctant to rule people as VLs and the chances of doing so to the Beeb are close to zero.

  12. Even in the civil court the evidence threshold is not zero. You still have to make a case that it is more likely than not that a license is needed and that burden falls on the plaintiff, not on the defendant to demonstrate the opposite. Maybe arguing that “the overwhelming majority of people do need a license” will work, but it shouldn’t.

  13. . . . still have to make a case that it is more likely than not that a license is needed and that burden falls on the plaintiff, not on the defendant to demonstrate the opposite.

    In theory, but in practise once things get to any court you are effectively required to prove your “innocence”. If the gas company present you with an erroneous bill, it is up to you to show it to be erroneous.

  14. @Mr Goodnamesaretaken. Up to a point. The letters don’t stop and the visits eventually resume. Capita assume that you don’t want the hassle of legal action/prosecution, particularly as I want nothing to do with them.

  15. @Mr Galt, as that link demonstrates, if you submit A WOIRA, Capita send you a stream of letters asking if the WOIRA is still in force. Omit to answer any of them and they assume it has been removed and they start threatening visits again.

  16. I havent had a license for a number of years -6 or 7 at a guess. I filled in the declaration that i didn’t need one. I had one visit from an officer – i was quite happy to show him my equipment as my tvs not connected to the satellite dish nor an aerial. I knew i didn’t have to let him in, but i didn’t want to get bombarded by threatening letters. He was quite happy with my set up and was perfectly satisfied. I occasionally get a reminder to renew my declaration – probably once every 2 or 3 years. I usually just download anything i want to watch – films and Japanese tv serials (VPN) and can’t say theres anything i want to watch on terrestial tv -especially from the BBC. If I wanted to be brainwashed with lefty propaganda I’d read the Guardian which I loathe.

  17. Jebus, why do folks get so worked up over the licence fee? It costs bugger all. Surely for everyone on here, your time spent in avoiding paying it costs more than the cost of the licence. Yeah, yeah principles and all of that but there are bigger fish to fry.

  18. @ samuelbuca
    One – don’t like getting cheated
    Two – once someone knows you’re a soft touch you’ll be inundated with copycat unjustified demands
    “once you pay the Danegeld you never get rid of the Dane”

  19. @samuelbuca – have you watched terrestial tv – the bbc full of woke crap and itv full of talent shows , reality tv and repeats or films i’ve already seen. No thanks. Can’t say theres anything I’ve missed watching.

  20. Surely for everyone on here, your time spent in avoiding paying it costs more than the cost of the licence.

    Time spent avoiding paying the telly tax: 0
    Entertainment derived from watching the constant stream of far-left bullshit produced by the BBC: 0
    Contributing (however small) to the downfall of the BBC: priceless

  21. Remember that the goons who call are on commission–hence their persistence.

    As for the “small” cost. Trannie Marxist Dr Who’s and black Anne Boleyns aren’t worth 15p a year.

    Esp when you know that the Anne Boleyn caper would NEVER go the other way. BBC used to do cut price serials–eg their version of “The Lion , The Witch and the Wardrobe”. Does anybody think that if they paid Marvel to do a cheapo tv version of the “Avengers” that the part of the Black Panther would ever be offered to a white man?

    Anti-racism = marxist (mostly white middle-class ones) hatred of white people.

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