Conviction for all licensing pursuits, including those not prosecuted

The request was refused by British Broadcasting Corporation.

In the Corporation's response to the following:

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/bb...

It is stated that "In practice, TV Licensing has a 99.9% conviction rate for cases of TV licence evasion which are prosecuted ..."

According to the Broadcasting Act 1990, in addition to more recent legislation, the Corporation is the "Licensing Authority" for the purposes of this and subsequent Acts. It is therefore legally responsible for all enforcement activities carried out on its behalf, and hence any and all activity relating to its role as the Licensing Authority are subject to scrutiny by the Freedom Of Information Act, and this includes the policy and practice of its partners and subcontractors.

It is stated that the success rate for cases prosecuted is 99.9%, implying that the Authority is only prosecuting cases it can win, which is in itself a vacuous truth. Therefore:

1. What is the typical rate of prosecution, both by number and as a proportion, of all cases pursued not initially resulting in purchase of a licence? This includes prosecutions, those cases where a "prosecution statement" is taken, and any cases dropped other than as a result of payment on threat of prosecution.

2. Regardless of the reasons for proceeding or otherwise with prosecution, what is the aggregate conviction rate for all cases, including those prosecuted, those for which a "prosecution statement" is taken, cases dropped under the guise of "commercial decision", cases involving use not subject to licensing (whether these are dropped or wrongfully pursued), or any case which did not result in payment prior to prosecution. This includes, but is not limited to, all cases where a mailshot is sent out and no payment received prior to a direct threat of prosecution.

3. The number of cases for which the Authority held a properly executed authorisation for covert surveillance (i.e. surveillance carried out without the subject's knowledge) under the Regulation Of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 - including meeting the requirements of naming of the subject and a signature from an officer empowered under ss.30-32 of said Act.

I am aware of the time limit for responses as prescribed by the Act, and I am also aware that this is a limit and not an entitlement. I therefore require an acknowledgement of this request within 3 working days, and that an initial response is issued within 10 working days, such that any further clarification required by either myself or yourselves may be resolved within the wider limit.

For the purposes of s.8 of the Act, this request being served by email the originating address shall be sufficient as an "address for correspondence". Pursuant to guidance issued by the ICO, vendor-proprietary formats (such as those of Microsoft Office) are strictly not acceptable and shall be treated as a refusal to comply.

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Chris,

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000, about TV Licensing, which was received on 27 June
2008. We shall deal with your request as promptly as possible and, at
the latest, within 20 working days. If you have any queries about your
request please contact us at the address below.

The reference number for your request is RFI20080691.

Kind regards.

The Information Policy and Compliance Team
BBC Freedom of Information
Room 2252, BBC White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

show quoted sections

You are reminded of the following:

"[...] I am also aware that this is a limit and not an entitlement. I therefore require [...] that an initial response is issued within 10 working days, such that any further clarification required by either myself or yourselves may be resolved within the wider limit."

I note with some regret that some 15 working days later no such response has been received. Am I to surmise that you are not taking this request for information seriously?

Your response is now overdue. I note with some regret that the telephone number you have provided for contact is an automated message, thus leaving me no opportunity to contact you to rectify this grave error on your part.

As you have not provided a response within the designated timeframe, I am excused from the requirement of the Act to seek an internal review on the basis that there is no response to review in the first place. For that reason, I have lodged a formal complaint with the ICO.

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Chris

Please find attached the response to your request for information,
reference RFI20080691. I apologise that this response was not sent to you
within the 20-working-day deadline set down by the Act.

<<RFI20080691 - final response.pdf>>

Yours sincerely
Rachel Hallett

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
Room 2252, White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
reliance on it and notify the sender immediately.
Please note that the BBC monitors e-mails sent or received.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.

References

Visible links
1. file://www.bbc.co.uk/foi
2. mailto:[BBC request email]
3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

I require that you review your decision to withhold information under s.31 of the Act on the following basis.

The primary factor in favour of disclosure is to establish that people are not unduly subject to surveillance.

TV Licensing publicity states that various technological measures are used to detect actual offences, and I put the Authority to strict proof that measures other than a database of addresses and licences are in use to the extent that a reasonable person would infer from their publicity. If you cannot do this, your publicity would amount to demanding money with menaces, on the basis that the majority of viewers will have paid a licence and therefore exercising menaces against those persons would be unwarranted.

There is also ample evidence that the Authority has abused its position to harrass those not subject to licensing, and abused its position further to suppress those who might speak against it. Further, there is evidence that the Authority regularly flouts the Bill Of Rights by presuming that any unlicensed address is an offender unless they are told otherwise.

I therefore submit that your item 1 (effective deterrent) does not serve this interest.

The presence of an external body does not excuse anybody from the lawful discharge of their duties. I therefore submit that your item 2 (existence of the OSC) does not serve this interest exclusively, but rather in a complementary fashion, and therefore does not excuse the Authority from disclosure.

The cost of any enforcement activity is not of immediate concern, and I therefore submit that your items 3 (NAO reports) and 4 (reduction in expenditure) does not satisfy the interest in respect of unwarranted surveillance.

I further submit that protection of the BBC's revenue stream is not a matter of public interest, but rather one of protection the commercial interests of the BBC - this request does not concern any material sold commercially either in rights sales or in merchandising to the public, and therefore any information provided in response to this request would not jeopardise the commercial interests of BBC Worldwide Ltd.

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Chris,
We have received your request for an internal review relating to your
request for information about TV licensing. Your request for an internal
review was received on 28th July 2008 - apologies for the delay in
acknowledging your request. We shall deal with the review as promptly as
possible and, at the latest, within 30 working days. If you have any
queries please contact us at the address below.

The reference number for your internal review is IR2008028.

Yours sincerely

BBC Information Policy and Compliance team
Room 2252, 2nd Floor, White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
reliance on it and notify the sender immediately.
Please note that the BBC monitors e-mails sent or received.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.

References

Visible links
1. file://www.bbc.co.uk/foi
2. mailto:[BBC request email]
3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Chris

Please see attached the outcome of your request for an Internal Review.

<<IR2008028 - IR decision.pdf>>

I would like to remind you that, if you are not satisfied with the
internal review, you can appeal to the Information Commissioner. The
contact details are: Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, telephone 01625 545 700 or see
[1]http://www.ico.gov.uk/

Yours sincerely
Rachel Hallett

BBC Information Policy and Compliance
Room 2252, 2nd Floor, White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: [2]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [3]mailto:[BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

[4]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
reliance on it and notify the sender immediately.
Please note that the BBC monitors e-mails sent or received.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.ico.gov.uk/
2. file://www.bbc.co.uk/foi
3. mailto:[BBC request email]
4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

1 Attachment

Dear Chris,

It has come to our attention that there was a typographical error in our
original response to your internal review.

In the 2nd sentence of the paragraph numbered 2 on page 4 of the internal
review decision, it stated "I am satisfied that disclosure of the
information sought in requests 1 and 3, in particular if continued with
other information relating to the detection and enforcement, is likely to
influence the behaviour of a body of the public with regard to complying
with their TV licence obligations and that this would prejudice the
detection and prosecution of TV licence evaders".

The sentence should have read "I am satisfied that disclosure of the
information sought in requests 1 and 3, in particular if combined with
other information relating to the detection and enforcement, is likely to
influence the behaviour of a body of the public with regard to complying
with their TV licence obligations and that this would prejudice the
detection and prosecution of TV licence evaders".

A corrected copy of the Internal Review Decision is attached.

<<IR2008028 - IR decision - typo corrected.pdf>>

Kind Regards

Louise Wright
Information Policy and Compliance

BBC Freedom of Information
Room 2252, White City
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TS, UK

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [2][BBC request email]
Tel: 020 8008 2883
Fax: 020 8008 2398

[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk
This e-mail (and any attachments) is confidential and may contain personal
views which are not the views of the BBC unless specifically stated.
If you have received it in error, please delete it from your system.
Do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way nor act in
reliance on it and notify the sender immediately.
Please note that the BBC monitors e-mails sent or received.
Further communication will signify your consent to this.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/foi
2. mailto:[BBC request email]
3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/

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