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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.

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Friday 1 April 2011

BBC Confirm Detector Vans Never Used in Court

Despite being very reluctant the BBC has finally confirmed what we all knew anyway - detector van/portable detector evidence has never been presented in court.

The revealing Freedom of Information Act response came after the BBC u-turned on their earlier decision to withhold the information under the law enforcement exemptions of the 2000 Act.

In their revised response, issued after an internal review found in our favour, Beeb Kiwi lawyer Dan McGregor says the following:

"I can confirm that TVL has not, to date, used detection evidence in Court. 

"You may be interested to understand why this is the situation. Under TVL’s current prosecution process the presentation of detection evidence in court is unnecessary. This is because TVL uses detection evidence when applying for search warrants. If, following service of the warrant an individual is found to be evading payment of the TV Licence, then the evidence obtained via the search warrant is used in court, not the detection evidence. 

"It is worth noting that search warrants are only issued at the discretion of a magistrate (or sheriff in Scotland) in accordance with strict legal requirements. Detection evidence would be carefully considered by the magistrate (or sheriff in Scotland) during the warrant application process.

"It does, of course, remain open to TVL to use detection evidence in court whenever it wishes in the future."

Given the fact they haven't used it so far, in the fifty-odd years the shit-scary (not) TV detector van has allegedly been in existence, it's pretty unlikely they'll be changing that habit.

Sadly the BBC's internal reviewer, James Leaton Gray, can't bring himself to admit what everyone reading this knows - the BBC had little option but to respond, given my warning that I would refer their obstruction to the Information Commissioner. If that had happened the Commissioner would have definitely ordered them to disclose the information in full given the huge valid public interest.

The full trail of my request can be found here.

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Edit (2/2/2016): The BBC has inadvertenly let slip the actual TV Licensing detection figures for 2015. As we suspected, they confirm that the use of TV detection is exceptionally rare. It is certainly not widespread or routine. You can read more here.


33_hertz said...

Great work!! Kudos to you, sir!! :-)))

Anonymous said...


Very, very interesting!!!!

Anonymous said...

Detection evidence is used to convince the magistrate that they have done a professional job of getting evidence.

They will see some means of getting a TV signal e.g. aerial, plus will see/hear a TV set in use. They will put in a token effort with some detection device, but won't care too much about the results obtained from using it. They will just say to the magistrate, that a positive result has been obtained from detection, and leave it at that.

I recall it somewhere mentioned that TVL claimed 99% certainty of detection with their TV detection equipment. That is a suspiciously high statistical value. What it more likely is, that in the unlikey event that they've screwed up with the general reckoning of the situation, it gives them the excuse that on this particular occasion, the 1% chance of failure with their detection equipment actually happened.

Detection equipment is not a concern. They either have all the evidence they need to satisfy themselves before considering using detection equipment, or they will give up and move onto the next victim.

Anonymous said...

Excellent and thanks for this site.

Anonymous said...

"Detection evedence" used for search warrants.
"Yes m'lud I detected a TV with my ears."

Anonymous said...

I advise anyone being hassled by TV Licening to look into how to removed their 'Implied Right Of Access' from their property. I worked for me. See the TPUC website for more destails.

Anonymous said...

Boils down to people allowing TV light or sound to be seen/heard by those outside the property. If they come to the door, refuse them entry, make them go and get a warrant and meanwhile lose the TV for a while. Simples ! This licence is simply another tax on householders.

Anonymous said...

TPUC is mostly full of nonsense, but this is one of the few things they espouse that is actually grounded in reality - revoke the "implied right of access", then get an injunction if they come more than once.

Mayiex said...

Interesting post.. I think this kind of system is cool nowadays.. I'll try to find another information for this.. I am interested about it..

Anonymous said...

That's it no more BBC for me, won't watch or buy anymore BBC programs. Fed up with all this spying. Maybe we should just scrap all this technology and go back to basics the BBC and the rest will have nothing to get worked up over. We have gone to far with all this technology and enough is enough. Is it not time that the troubles with the Internet where put to bed and switched off. We never had any of this before the internet anyway.

Monty said...

Pretty sure the TV license predates the internet by quite some time!