We have previously discussed the unfairness of the TV Licensing goon commission system.
Briefly, so as not to cover old ground, TV Licensing goons need to obtain the equivalent of one "Code 8" prosecution interview (e.g. a completed TVL178 Record of Interview form that shows evidence of TV licence fee evasion) every hour as a basic condition of employment. Any Code 8s above and beyond that number attract lucrative bonus payments, which are reputedly worth as much as £1,000 per month. Not bad for a TV Licensing goon on a basic salary of less than £15k.
A full time TV Licensing goon is expected to achieve 38 Code 8s every week and can face disciplinary action if they fail to meet that target. That explains why TV Licensing goons are often so aggressive when it comes to information gathering on the doorstep.
For all of TV Licensing's bluster about databases and detector vans, it's no secret that completed TVL178 Record of Interview forms are the key piece of evidence submitted by TV Licensing during the prosecution of alleged TV licence fee evaders.
It is a fact that people are only prosecuted on the basis of TVL178 Record of Interview evidence. Without that crucial piece of paperwork, which must be completed to the required evidential standard, TV Licensing is unable to take further action.
It therefore follows that TV Licensing is unable to prosecute in cases where the TVL178 Record of Interview form falls short of the standard required. That is indeed the case, as explained in the normally-redacted chapter 8 section 2 of the TV Licensing Visiting Procedures.
The relevant section reads as follows:
2.4 A visit cannot be submitted, nor will it be accepted, as a "Code 8" unless it meets the following criteria:
- The full name of the interviewee is obtained. If the full name is not obtained, the reason why must be stated e.g. refused first name.
- The name of the interviewee recorded by the EO (Enquiry Officer) is consistent with the signature and name the interviewee signs the Record of Interview with.
- If the interviewee refuses to sign the Record of Interview a reason is noted.
- The EO gains and records evidence of unlicensed use of a television set and/or other television receiving equipment.
- It is clearly indicated whether permission to inspect the set was granted or not, and if not the reason(s) why.
- The type of television receiver and/or receiving equipment (is) clearly noted, including whether this is colour or B&W equipment.
- The interviewee's date of birth has been noted, or if not the reason why.
- The Witness Statement on the reverse of the Record of Interview has been fully completed with the name, date and signature of the EO if the interviewee has signed the Record of Interview.
Remember that TV Licensing goons have no more right to visit a property than any other unsolicited caller. They do not have any special legal rights or privileges, nor do they have authority to make any sort of demand on the occupier.
If a TV Licensing goon does call, by far the best option is for the occupier to say nothing and close the door.
Members of the legally-licence-free community are under no legal obligation to assist TV Licensing and we discourage them from doing so, as it would probably be a wasted effort anyway.