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 BBC on-demand programmes via the iPlayer, then the law requires you to have a TV 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.


As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Saturday 28 February 2015

TV Licensing: Prosecution Interviews Under Caution

TV Licensing Tricks

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.
That is TV Licensing's emphasis on the word "use" in the fourth bullet point down.

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.

If you've found this article useful please consider liking us on Facebook, adding us to Google+, following us on Twitter or downloading our free ebook.


Chris said...

Powerpoint ellipses rock!

Unknown said...

Irrespective of the circumstances of why an Enquiry Officer has felt the need to caution a Legal Occupier.
I would recommend after the LO acknowledges to the EO that they have understood the caution that they exercise their right to legal counsel and asks the EO to suspend the interview so that can be arranged.
Then ask the EO to supply them with details of where and when they can be contacted to continue the interview under caution with legal representation present.

I have not heard of anyone personally doing this but doubt very much that the LO would hear from the EO again as any further interview would then have to be conducted elsewhere at a convenient location for example a Police station or a solicitors office.
It would also have the advantage if TVL followed it up of the interview being captured on tape as well as the unreliable and biased TVL178 form.

Fred Bear said...

According to the NAO audit back in 2002,


the goons only make contact with householders on 1 in 5 visits.

If you assume 12 minutes between calls then they'll only get a response once an hour. To get to their target in a standard working week of around 38 hours therefore, they've got to pressurise pretty much everyone they come across into signing a 'confession'.

If anyone admits they have a TV on the premises (even if only used for watching DVDs), these 'officers' will scent cash and the TVL178 will come out pronto.

This is why the LLF should be cautious when dealing with these people.

Anonymous said...

I recently received a court summons attached to the TVL178 form. The EO has entered 'no' on the section of the form asking 'May I come in and inspect the set?' dispite entering my home. According to Visiting Procedures above the

"2.4 A visit cannot be submitted, nor will it be accepted, as a "Code 8" unless it meets the following criteria:

It is clearly indicated whether permission to inspect the set was granted or not, and if not the reason(s) why."

Not only has he entered the wrong information but he has failed to give a reason why for his 'no' answer which the above info states as a requirement. Would this render it as not meeting the necessary criteria?

Admin said...

Hello Anon.

It is important to highlight that this is Capita policy on. There is nothing to stop them, from a legal point of view, trying to prosecute on the basis of that evidence.

That said, if the information on the form is in clear contradiction of your recollection of events, it is worth contacting TV Licensing to tell them that you disagree and intend to highlight the flaws in their evidence in court.

That is often enough to get them to reconsider.