Why we're here:
This blog is to highlight the unjust persecution of legitimate non-TV users at the hands of TV Licensing. These people do not require a licence and are entitled to live without the unnecessary stress and inconvenience caused by TV Licensing's correspondence and employees.

If you use equipment to receive live broadcast TV programmes, or to watch or download on-demand programmes via the BBC iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a licence and we encourage you to buy one.

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Wednesday, 13 August 2008

TV Detection

At the heart of TV Licensing's detection system is their massive database of licensed addresses. TV Licensing receive information for this database from TV dealers, the Post Office and licence holders. Any property that doesn't have a licence will be subject to further investigations to find out why.

From my previous post about TV Licensing Correspondence you'll see that their initial approach is to send reminder letters to the unlicensed address. These reminder letters are often offensive, patronising and accusative in tone.

Little wonder then that many genuine non-TV users are making a stand against TV Licensing intimidation by being as uncooperative as possible with their incessant requests for information.

Enforcement officer visits:
Non-TV users are under no obligation to respond to TV Licensing's correspondence, but if they don't they eventually run the risk of having an Enforcement Officer visit their property.

Remember that unless the Enforcement Officer has a search warrant, which they almost certainly won't on an initial visit, the occupant is under no legal obligation to let them in. They should simply keep quiet and close the door.

Enforcement Officers are cheap - they're paid a pittance and work on a commission basis, which explains why some of them try almost anything, legal or otherwise, to drum up licence sales and prosecutions.

Most search warrants come as the result of an Enforcement Officer seeing or hearing television equipment in use or the occupier admitting they are using such equipment.

TV detection equipment:
TV Licensing also have detection equipment (detector vans and portable units) that they can use to gather evidence on target properties. The exact number and nature of these units is shrouded in secrecy, but if you believe the word of the BBC:
  • The equipment in detector vans takes as little as 20 seconds to work and has a range of up to 60 metres. It is able to distinguish between two television sets either side of a party wall.
  • The vehicles use GPS technology to identify target addresses.
  • A new type (2003 model) detector van costs £108,474.59.
  • A new portable unit costs around £600.
  • The latest portable detection equipment has a range of up to 20 metres.
  • The van based detection equipment is developed internally by BBC Research and Development and manufactured/installed by dB Broadcast.
  • The latest portable detection equipment was developed solely by the BBC.
  • Detection technology is generally used to obtain search warrants after Enforcement Officer visits have proved unsuccessful.
  • Detection equipment relies on the television equipment being in use at the time of the visit.
Just as interesting are the questions that the BBC refused to answer:
  • The total number of detector vans and the number operating on an average day.
  • The number of court cases where the use of detection equipment has resulted in a conviction.
  • The number of search warrants obtained on the basis of detection equipment evidence.
Those answers (and non-answers) provided by the BBC suggest that the use of detection equipment isn't very widespread and is reserved for cases where conventional detection (Enforcement Officer eyes and ears) has failed to obtain evidence of wrongdoing. The fact that detection equipment is normally used to obtain search warrants also suggests that evidence of the equipment alone is insufficient to secure a conviction.

TV Licensing are also known to use detection vans for deterrent purposes in licence evasion black spots.

Related posts:
TV Licensing Rights of Access


Bob said...

"The number of court cases where the use of detection equipment has resulted in a conviction."

I understand that question has now been answered.

The answer is NONE.

admin said...

It has Bob.
It was us who got the official answer on that: http://tv-licensing.blogspot.com/2011/04/bbc-confirm-detector-vans-never-used-in.html

Anonymous said...

Is there any scientific way to detect TV being used ?
I would be interested in the answer.

If detection is a hoax, how do they get search warrant on hoax evidence. The magistrate has to believe the detection evidence, how can he - unless he understands TV engineering ?

Anonymous said...

Every receiver leaks a transmission frequency that can be detected.

Simon bailey said...

The above comment is absolutely false.they have no way to detect weather a tv is used at any given address.there is no reflected frequencies given off by modern lcd, plasma tv's as it's a receiver. Not a transmitter. This a muse to frighten you.im not sure you have updated the amendmant of the 2003 communications act but retailers are no longer required by law to send customer details to the tv licensing.

admin said...

I have updated the repeal of the "dealer notification" terms of the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1967, which is the legislation to which you refer.

This is quite an old article. Please read ahead.

Anonymous said...

As an electronic engineer I feel that detector vans are just for scaremongering. To detect emissions through a brick wall at 60m your TV would have to be violating EMC regulations that any electrical device sold in the UK must adear to. Plus in modern TV's the demodulation of the transmission signal is likely done by a microprocessor using relatively small amounts of power making it even harder to detect. Just think how annoying it is when your WiFi hub is down stairs on one side of the house and you're upstairs on the other side and you barely have any signal, and those things are designed to emitting em waves!