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.

If you've just arrived here from a search engine, then you might find our Quick Guide helpful.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Thames Magistrates' Court: No Information About TV Licensing Search Warrant Applications

One of London's busiest Magistrates' Courts holds no information about TV Licensing search warrant applications since 1st January 2013.

Using the Freedom of Information Act 2000, we sought the following information in relation to Thames Magistrates' Court, which serves much of the east end of the capital:

1. The number of search warrant applications made by employees of the BBC/TV Licensing/Capita Business Services Ltd in accordance with Section 366 of the Communications Act 2003.

2. Of those applications, the number granted or refused.

3. Of those applications granted, the number with information laid to the effect that detection/detector van evidence had been (allegedly) obtained by the BBC/TV Licensing/Capita Business Services Ltd.

Her Majesty's Court and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) responded to our request saying that after a conducting a thorough search and making enquiries with Thames Magistrates' Court, it could confirm that it did not hold the information requested.

You can read HMCTS's letter of response here.

You might remember that we previously made an identical request in relation to North Tyneside and Teesside Magistrates, which resulted in the disclosure of the relevant statistics. That being the case, we consider that HMCTS would have provided a similar statistical breakdown in relation to Thames Magistrates' Court if it could.

HMCTS's response again left questions unanswered, so we attempted to clarify exactly what was meant to by "no information held". We also asked HMCTS to confirm that if the statistics did exist, they would have been disclosed as in the case of those from North Tyneside and Teesside.

Neglecting its obligations under section 16 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, HMCTS has thus far failed to provide any assistance in clarifying its response.

On the face of it, HMCTS's response would suggest that TV Licensing search warrant applications, even in a busy urban Magistrates' Court like Thames, are very few and far between.

Edit (6/7/16): We have now written a more recent post, where we give the official number of TV Licensing search warrant applications in 2014-15. You can read it here.

1 comment:

Fred Bear said...

Search warrants are very rare and mostly used as a threat in the BBC's letters and publicity. They hope they will scare people into buying licences. The BBC always refuses to divulge how many search warrants it has been granted per year because the 'scare factor' would be much lower if people knew the reality.

If you want a glimpse into their thinking have a look at this article (from 2013) entitled :

'Guernsey residents face TV licence fines'


It starts claiming that 'more than a £250,000 could be collected from Guernsey residents who have been caught without a TV Licence.'

This is on the basis that their 'officers'(actually Capita employees with a TVL 178 form) 'visited the island and caught 130 people illegally watching TV without a licence.' This happened in June 2013

But according to the Guernsey Police annual report for 2013 only 2 cases went to court in 2013.


In fact in the majority of individual years from 2008, no-one has been prosecuted for TV Licence evasion on Guernsey. However I'm sure the BBC keeps threatening the islanders with court appearances and £2000 fines.