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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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Saturday, 11 April 2015

TV Licensing Detector Van Spotted in Derby

New video footage has emerged showing a TV Licensing detector van conducting (supposedly) covert operations in Derby.

The same van, registration number VX09 VZP, was previously sighted in Liverpool back in April 2014.

It was recorded yesterday by the legally-licence-free occupier of a property in the Chaddesden area of the city. 

In characteristic fashion, the van sped off as soon as it became apparent that the occupier was approaching with a camera.

According to TV Licensing, it has a "fleet" of these vans operating across the UK. The same type of van is always used - a plain white, high-top VW Transporter. 

The vans are quite distinctive. They have a window panel door on the nearside, with a smaller pale-green curtained window directly above. The offside has a single window panel, but no door. The larger windows are blacked out, but the smaller curtained window is not.

Previous images show a lens mounted behind the curtained window. Capita Court Presenter Chris Christophorou, has previously discussed the significance of that lens.

The BBC retains ownership of these vans and associated equipment, but for convenience sake they are registered to the relevant Capita detection manager. The equipment within the vans was installed by Cambridge-based dB Broadcast Ltd, which is also responsible for any ongoing maintenance.

The current vans all bear 09 registration numbers, which means they were first registered in 2009/10. Capita contracts a company called Leasedrive to undertake the mechanical maintenance of the vans, although this is sub-contracted to a number of local garages and dealerships.

Given the regularity with which the same vans are spotted, we estimate that there are no more than ten of them covering the whole of the UK. The use of detection is certainly not widespread or routine, as TV Licensing would have people believe.

You can read a lot more about TV Licensing's use of detection in this article.

1 comment:

Fred Bear said...

If you look at the TV Licensing website, you'll notice they do not mention handheld detectors anymore. They also no longer claim to be able to detect a TV at a range of 60 meters. In fact they have dropped the technical stuff apart from the general statement that they can 'detect the use of TV receiving equipment at specifically targeted addresses within minutes'.

It looks like they are now relying on optical detection. The vans have the lens mounted as high up as possible inside the van so they can look over fences and hedges etc.

From the details given in the search warrant that was revealed in this blog, it's clear that the equipment is an optical spectrometer. They are picking up on the characteristic 3 colours used in display screens. The human eye automatically blends the colours but for equipment such as this, they would show up as 3 clear 'peaks' on a spectrum.

I have grave doubts that they can distinguish different uses of a display screen (computer games, DVD etc) but for their purposes - ie to get or to threaten to get a search warrant - they don't have to.

Capita can't operate this equipment under their own authority. They have to apply to the BBC for permission which has to be signed off at a very high level within that organisation. The BBC have to justify use of the detector technology to the Office of Surveillance Commissioners so it is clear that the equipment can't be used routinely.