Their approach of sending such notices out, which does happen as outlined above, would be a breach of PACE and the Human Rights Act (article 8(2)). The intrusive means of sending letters based on assumption rather than reasonable, objective grounds of suspicion is a breach of this.
This is the issue. You don't for instance get the DVLA writing to everyone without a driving licence on a monthly basis reminding them that driving without a licence is a criminal offence, running through the penalties for it, employing people to investigate unlicensed people to check if they are driving without a licence, and try and make people who do not need a driving licence to register with them as not needing one (and even then may conduct a visit to check that the person really isn't driving).
One of the letters on their rotation even includes lines like 'before a hearing is set at your local court' and advises that 'you will be allowed to take this letter into court with you'. And these letters are being sent to people as a random mailer with no evidence that they have done anything wrong.
In fact I cannot think of any other licence-able activity where the licensing authority pursues the unlicenced in quite the same way.
It also seems a bit odd that TVL is readily able to obtain court warrants to conduct inspections where the suspicion that an offence is being committed is nothing more than the accused simply not complying with TVL - which they are under no legal obligation to do at all.
It may well be true that Capita employees calling themselves 'officers' have little real understanding of the law, Capita's competence itself may also be questionable but then it does ultimately go back to the fact that TV Licencing is being given carte blance to treat unlicenced people as criminals with no evidence, and no other part of the legal system seems willing to stop them.
TV detector vans are of course entirely fictitious and always have been, they're a "marketing" gimmick to also convince people to pay up.
Are you sure about that? The technology did exist to do it, but whether every van was equipped is another matter
It's not just enforcement they do, the whole running of the scheme is outsourced to them.
Which brings us back to the 'TV Detector Van'. Whilst I'm sure some sort of detection technology exists, the level to which it exists, how accurate it is, and to what extent TV Licencing actually use it (if at all) is a matter of debate.
To me it seems pretty obvious that the reason they get away with acting as they do is because it is privately acknowledged by the powers that be that without their methods they'd never get anyone.
So if they do have workable TV detector vans (which they have claim to have had for the last 65 years) you would imagine by now the technology would be so developed that they would be good enough to bring convictions on their own (or at least would be good enough as evidence for court warrants to conduct inspections). It would get them more reliable convictions, it would end the PR disaster of their current methods of working, and saving them a fortune in the costs of administering their current' fear and intimidation' model of detection.
From the simple reason that they don't seem to get much out of their TV detector vans, I would say they are a work of fiction.
Last edited by cwathen on 23 October 2017 8:13pm - 4 times in total