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Posts Tagged ‘bbc resistance’

[Resistance] How To Respond To TV Licensing Threats

Posted by Lex Fear on May 29, 2007

This Post Is Rated: C for Controversial. Contains references to government enabled thuggery no less.

A while ago Neil Herron posted an excellent response he had sent to TVL Enforcement:

“Despite a call to your 0870 number, I continue to receive threatening letters from yourselves.

Therefore, as I have replied to you, and requested the attendance of one of your authorised officers at a mutually convenient time in order to be interviewed in compliance with the Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984, I consider any further intimidatory letters or implied threats as harassment.” – Neil Herron

I do not believe in TV Licensing. There are few countries in the world today that force their citizens to pay for a telecommunications licence. The people of New Zealand are the most recent example of a nation successfully rising up to challenge and overturn their draconian licencing laws. I would encourage people here to also protest and write to their MPs.

There are also countries who have proved that public service television can be successful without licensing. Canada, for example does not require you to own a licence to view public service television. There are only two channels available for free, then you purchase cable for the rest.

Usually when it comes to licensing the BBC, the counter-argument always presented usually follows the lines of how the BBC can afford to take risks, we wouldn’t get the quality programming if it wasn’t funded by the licence and it allows the BBC to remain impartial. Bullshit. ITV, Channel 4 and even Channel 5 are now able to compete with substantial quality programming at no cost to the tax payer.

But there is a more sinister work afoot with TV Licensing, and that is the subcontracting of the work to a firm called Capita which also run things like the Criminal Records Bureau, Congestion Charging and Council Tax. If you are not concerned yet, you should be. At this rate, 20 years from now Capita will be monitoring your every move in our increasingly Orwellian society.

With regards to TV Licensing, Capita’s method of enforcement appears to be:

  1. Send warning letter to ANY household not currently registered with a licence on our database (yes that means people without TVs included).
  2. Send threatening letter to ANY household that has not yet paid up (regardless of electronics owning status).
  3. Send a different version of threatening letter from step 2. Use lots of RED BOLD FONT.
  4. Send threatening letter: AN ENFORCEMENT OFFICER WILL SOON VISIT TO INTERVIEW YOU UNDER POLICE AND CRIMINAL EVIDENCE ACT… BLAHCAKES…
  5. Wait 3 months.
  6. Repeat steps 1-5.

Anyone who has moved home or been a student will probably recognise one or more of the TVL letters mentioned above. We recently received all of these letters twice over when we first moved into our flat in London, before we had our TV setup. They seem to have been sending them since the last tenant left, whilst no-one was living there, until we arrived.

When we finally got the TV setup and grudgingly paid for our licence, surprise! We were still receiving these threatening letters! It got to Step 4 twice, and yet, no enforcement official (which I was looking forward to). Why?

The answer dear readers is simple. They seem to have little enforcement on the ground, though this is hard to determine, since they have not really been forthcoming with the FOI requests (read the pdfs). It is reported that even their detection equipment is not nearly as good as they make out.

So what to do with these threats and harrassments from the TVL? I would not encourage anyone to break the law, but let’s just say if they ever turn up at my doorstep, regardless of whether I have a TV and licence or not, I would tell them in polite and no uncertain terms to f*** off and get a warrant.

If you you need a little more detail than that, here’s a short guide:

  1. Ignore the threat letters, read others’ personal accounts, opinions and check the forums
  2. Read one persons experience of their rhetorical threats.
  3. You are worried, are they coming for you? BBC Resistance has all the answers. Take your time over the material there, enjoy.
  4. Fed up of their hateful, empty threats? Write a ‘cease and desist’ letter revoking their ‘implied right of access’ (also see Neil Herron link above).
  5. On the event that an enforcement clown officer shows up at your door, you have a right to refuse entry unless they have a warrant. They most definitely won’t have a warrant if it’s the first visit. Only a court can issue a search warrant on reasonable ground to suspect you have a TV. This means they have to apply individually for every innocent person they harass.
  6. In the highly unlikely event they obtain a warrant, they will most likely want to interview you under caution. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO SAY ANYTHING. However, be not afraid. Know this: They only want your money. I cannot find the source but did I read a post for the job of TV Licence Enforcement Officer on a jobsite a long time ago. It was a “day in the life of” in which the officer explained he would try to sell a licence to the person he had interviewed. This is what they will probably try to do. (If I find the link I will post it).
  7. Protest and resist. It is completely immoral and possibly unlawful to send out letters randomly to anyone who does not own a licence. This is an assumption of guilt and requires the recipient to prove their innocence.

It’s time the UK caught up with the 21st Century and realise that not everything can or should be taxed.

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