The TV Licensing goon shown above is clearly in the wrong line of business, as he seems to think he's the modern day Rumpole of the Bailey.
During this three minute encounter the unshaven, scruffy-looking goon decides to make up Data Protection laws and ignore TV Licensing rules, despite being captured on camera.
As TV Licensing contractor Capita has a habit of blubbing to YouTube every time a video of one of their cannon-fodder is uploaded, we shall transcribe the entire episode below.
Before we do that, we'd like to clarify a few of points of law:
- TV Licensing ordinarily has a common-law implied right of access that allows them to call at the front door of an unlicensed property to make enquiries. This implied right of access can be removed by the occupier at any time by simply informing TV Licensing that they are not welcome to visit (see our earlier post). The occupier can initiate this withdrawal of implied rights of access (WOIRA) over the phone, in writing (letter or email) or verbally to a TV Licensing goon. BBC and TV Licensing policy is to record and respect any WOIRA instruction they receive, although experience shows that they often don't.
- The occupier of a residential property is well within their legal rights to film any TV Licensing goon (or anyone else) who visits that property (see our earlier post). The occupier does not need to inform the goon they are being filmed; the goon does not need to consent to being filmed; the goon cannot stop the occupier from filming. Occupiers who make video or audio recordings at their own property are not considered Data Controllers and are therefore not subject to the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.
- It is perfectly legal to walk in a public area and film events, or people, that occur there. This includes following and filming a TV Licensing goon all the way back to their vehicle. However, if the person following says or displays anything likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to the goon, then they could be in breach of the Public Order Act 1986. By far the best advice is to film passively from a distance.
[Occupier is heard unlocking the front door]
Goon: Do you live here sir?
Occupier: What you after?
Goon: Do you live here?
Occupier: I might do.
Goon: Oh, okay.
Occupier: Who are you?
Occupier: Just to let you know I am recording you for my own safety.
Occupier: If you'd like to move back please.
Goon: Move back where?
Occupier: If you'd like to step back please.
Goon: Yep, okay.
[Goon does not step back. Goon holds hand-held device towards the occupier's camera]
Occupier: What's that?
Goon: This is my hand-held device.
Goon: Can I ask why you are recording me?
Occupier: For me own safety.
Goon: Why? Who do you think I am?
Occupier: I've not got a clue who you are...
Occupier: ... there've been two murders in the area.
Occupier: I don't care. You've shown me no identification whatsoever.
Goon: No, I appreciate. No, I haven't. You haven't given me that opportunity yet.
Occupier: No. So that's why.
Goon: Can I also point (out) that under the Data Protection Act...
Occupier: ... wrong...
Goon: ... I have a right to ask, first of all, that you don't record me.
Occupier: You're on private property.
Goon: No. It doesn't matter whether I'm on private property or anywhere else.
Occupier: It does. You go on someone else's property...
Goon: No sir. Once I'm in your house you have every right to do that.
Occupier: No, no. I don't think so.
Goon: I have implied rights of access to actually come and knock on your door.
Occupier: You do not. I am refusing your implied rights of access to enter these premises.
Goon: I will happily accept that when you put it in writing to me.
Occupier: Right. Will do.
Goon: Now [that I've called] can I ask what you are using that video camera for?
Occupier: For my own safety and protection...
Occupier: ... the conversation is being recorded...
Goon: I will happily...
Occupier: ... so that nothing can be twisted.
Goon: I will happily accept that, on the condition that it's only used for your personal use.
Occupier: It is for my personal use.
Goon: If it is broadcast anywhere else, I will personally come back and take civil action against you.
Occupier: Wrong. Absolutely nothing you can do. There is no laws stating that you can't film in a public place.
Goon: Under the Data Protection Act if you take a personal image of me and use that without my use... without my express approval...
Goon: ... you're in breach of the Data Protection Act.
Occupier: You're on my private property.
Goon: No I'm not sir.
Occupier: Whose property is it then? You're on private property.
Goon: No. There is implied rights of access...
Occupier: No, no, no...
Goon: ... for me to knock on your door.
[The occupier is correct, because he withdrew TV Licensing's implied rights of access earlier in the conversation. The goon is now trespassing]
Occupier: .. no there isn't.
Goon: I'll show you my ID.
[Goon momentarily flicks his ID card towards the occupier]
Occupier: Let's have a look at the ID for the camera.
Goon: No, no.
Occupier: For the camera. Anybody can make them IDs.
Goon: I'll give you that now sir.
[Goon attempts to hand the occupier a "We Said We'd Call" card]
Occupier: I'm not accepting anything.
Goon: That's fine.
Occupier: I am not accepting anything from you.
Goon: That's fine. I'll leave it there for you.
[Goon drops WSWC card into an empty shopping trolley adjacent to the front door]
Occupier: Right, okay. For the camera, thrown in there.
Occupier: He's now leaving.
[Goon is seen exiting the garden and walking away from the property]
Occupier (to goon): (I) do not wish to contract with you.
[Occupier follows the goon at a distance]
Goon: Okay, that's fine. Don't follow me down the street now.
Occupier: I can follow you where I want.
Goon: I'm phoning the police.
Occupier: I'm in a public place. I film where I want. I can do whatever I want. Phone the police. There's not a thing you can do about it.
Occupier (to goon): Go on. Ring the police. Yay! You're on camera mate. You'll be showing. YouTube. Yay!
[Occupier now stops following the goon]
Occupier: Ha! Full of shit.