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

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Help Wanted: TV Licensing Search Warrant Numbers

We have just made a Freedom of Information request to Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) on the subject of TV Licensing search warrants.

Contrary to what the BBC and TV Licensing would have people believe, the use of search warrants is neither widespread nor common. Assuming TV Licensing plays by the rules, which is by no means guaranteed, then there are certain legal hoops to jump through before applying for a warrant. Information gleaned from a previous Freedom of Information request reveals that Sheffield Magistrates' Court, the busiest court in South Yorkshire, granted a total of only SIX warrants in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

HMCTS has previously responded to a similar request, so there is no reason why they shouldn't respond again (notwithstanding the fact that the BBC is known to nobble them). We would appreciate the help of our readers in making similar requests relating to their local courts. By making a concerted joint effort we should be able to glean some very interesting information of our own.

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 is both applicant and purpose blind: this means that anyone can request information from a public authority for whatever reason they like, even if a similar (or identical) request has previously been made by someone else.

If you live in England or Wales, here's how you can help:
  • Look at this list of Magistrates' Courts used by TV Licensing. Choose the court nearest to your home.
  • Sign up to WhatDoTheyKnow.com or use an existing account there.
  • Scroll to the HMCTS page and make a new request to them.
  • Copy and paste the request text below. Be sure to insert the name of the relevant court and your own name.
  • Send your request to HMCTS.
  • Post a comment on this post with a link to your request and the name of the court.
Please note that requests in Scotland should be made in relation to named Sheriff Courts via the Scottish Court Service page instead. An example of a Scottish request can be viewed here.

For the request to be valid you technically have to use your real name, however, there are certain ways you can disguise your real name if you want to. Someone with the name "Alan Robert Jones" could use that full name, the name "A. R. Jones", the name "A. Jones" or simply "Mr Jones". Women can sign the request in their maiden name if they prefer. Requests can also be made in the name of a company or organisation.

If you choose not to provide your real name the request will probably still be processed, but you will not be able to complain to the information watchdog (the ICO) if you are dissatisfied with the response you receive.

Text of request:

Dear Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service,

I am making this request under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

This request only relates to information held by [Insert Name] Magistrates' Court since 1st January 2011.

Please provide me with the following information:

1. The number of search warrant applications made by employees of the BBC/TV Licensing/Capita Business Services Ltd in accordance with Section 366 of the Communications Act 2003.
2. Of those applications, the number granted or refused.
3. Of those applications granted, the number with information laid to the effect that detection/detector van evidence had been (allegedly) obtained by the BBC/TV Licensing/Capita Business Services Ltd.

HMCTS has previously released similar information (your ref: FOI/86722) so I trust will have no problem doing the same again, notwithstanding the BBC/TV Licensing's probable future attempts to deter/hamper your efforts.

Yours faithfully,

[Insert Name]

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

ok i done this one for ya

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/tv_licensing_search_warrant_appl_2

Anonymous said...

Do you want us to post the links to our requests eg in the comments of this site, email the links to you or put them on eg http://www.tvlicenceresistance.info/forum/

admin said...

Yes Anon, that might be helpful for keeping track of things.
If everyone could post their request link and the name of the court.
Thanks.

Pete said...

love that misrepresentation of the 'Representation of the People Act'. Clearly on a par with Wonga with their fake solicitors letters.

Anonymous said...

Dyfed Powys mag' court request link
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/search_warrant_applications_for#outgoing-371596

Anonymous said...

mine for Stockport:-

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/tv_licensing_search_warrants_8/new

Anonymous said...

Gwent & South Wales FOI link
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/tv_licence_search_warrant_applic/new

Anonymous said...

Request for Thames Magistrates: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/tv_licensing_search_warrants_10

I figure it's probably one of the largest courts in the country.

admin said...

Someone has posted a request about Trafford Magistrates:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/tv_licensing_search_warrants_9

Anonymous said...

Request made for South Somerset and Mendip Magistrates Court
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/stats_re_tv_licensing/new