Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Harassment: A BBC Formula

"It's a fact! It seems to me it's the only "crime" where the "criminal" provides the evidence for conviction and the prosecution has no idea whether an offence was committed at all, but they'll take the defendant's word for it."

The sage comment of fellow blogger, Watchkeeper, about prosecutions brought by, Capita Business Services, on behalf of, the BBC. Moreover, it’s true.

Here is a demonstration just how nasty, loathsome and calculated the whole “business” of the “operation” of the BBC TV Licensing™ contract by, Capita Business Services, for and on behalf of, the BBC, actually is. TV Licensing Watch, hope that by the end of this blogpost, ordinary, decent law abiding lawfully licence free people will realise that it is not only BBC television programmes that can be formulaic. So is the studied, calculated and deliberate harassment of the unlicensed who, have absolutely no obligation whatsoever to participate in the whole disgraceful rigmarole devised by the BBC. That applies most especially to the lawfully licence free who do not watch and record live broadcast television scheduled and available in the UK.

In the blogpost below, “Show Trials”, is an image of a TVL178, Record of Interview form also known as a “Prosecution Statement” in the jargon of the 2002 Service Provision Agreement between the BBC and Capita Business Services. On pages 138 and 139 of that 2002 Service Provision Agreement are set out the target figures for the annual target number of Prosecution Statements that Capita Business Services are expected to achieve. Employees of Capita Business Services go to unlicensed addresses door to door with the express target of achieving in total 360,000 (or more) Prosecution Statements per annum. Achieving that BBC set target contributes to their “uncapped commission” payments (recruitment advertisement, "Gizza Job" blogpost below). Due to the nature of the perverse incentives offered by the “uncapped commission” payments to employees of Capita Business Services, it is little wonder that they seem first to go for the “usual suspects”. That is, people whom they have “caught” unlicensed before. The “low hanging fruit” as it were of television licence “enforcement”. A significant proportion of unlicensed people are serially prosecuted on an annual basis on behalf of the BBC by Capita Business Services. Approximately one third of prosecutions brought by Capita Business Services under the BBC TV Licensing™ contract are annual repeat prosecutions according to testimony to the DCMS Media Select Committee in 2002 by current BBC Group Finance Director, Zarin Patel.

Think about that figure. 360,000 is the population of a small city. That’s 1,000 potential prosecutions per day. In terms of judicial process alone by the petty judiciary a truly staggering figure. 360,000 potential criminal convictions per year for the heinous and dangerous “crime” of watching and recording live broadcast television programmes unlicensed; without the permission of the BBC. Nearly 20% of all prosecutions brought in magistrates courts are brought by Capita Business Services under the BBC TV Licensing™ contract. In terms of fines, good solid business for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service and the Treasury. In terms of costs, good solid business for Capita Business Services and their various hangers-on. In terms of locally placing template newspaper articles of comical hostility about “tv licence evaders” and “tv licence dodgers”, good solid business for PR agencies across the UK. Apart from lifelong hatred from those they prosecute, what does the BBC get from the whole vile and disgusting process? Since the whole disgusting TV Licensing™ spectacle has been going on for decades it is fair to say that the BBC do not seem to have given it much thought if any. Despite, if the BBC are to be believed, recruiting and retaining the “brightest and the best” managerial talent available, the whole nasty business continues.
However, on further reading that target figure of 360,000 Prosecution Statements is not an absolute figure. It is a variable figure determined by mathematical formula and is dependent on, as the following extract from page 138 shows:

“Prosecution Statements

Minimum Number of Prosecution Statements

From the Commencement of Services Date to the end of the first Financial Year the
Contractor shall obtain as a minimum the number of Prosecution Statements (“the
Minimum Number of Prosecution Statements”) that were obtained in the corresponding
period in the Financial Year ending 31 March 2001.

For each of the second and subsequent Financial Years, the Minimum Number of
Prosecution Statements shall be calculated using the following formula;
MNPS (n) = MNPS (n-1) x ER (n-1)
ER (n-2)
Where;
MNPS(n) is the Minimum Number of Prosecution Statements for a given year,
MNPS (n-1) is the Minimum Number of Prosecution Statements for the previous year,
ER (n-1) is the Evasion Rate for the previous Financial Year .
ER (n-2) is the Evasion Rate for the Financial Year two years previous.”

That is just how nasty, loathsome, deliberate and calculating the “business” of the BBC TV Licensing™ contract has actually become. The BBC seem to have created what amounts to a formula for harassment in order to generate tv licence revenue. Make absolutely no mistake it is without doubt a “business”. There is money to be made from these business “activities”. The BBC are the architects of it. The BBC approved it. The BBC Head of Revenue Management agreed it and signed it on behalf of the BBC and the BBC Trust. As if that were not enough on page 139 is this gem:

“In the event that the Minimum Number of Prosecution Statements is less than the
Target Number of Prosecution Statements, the Contractor shall endeavour to obtain the
Target Number of Prosecution Statements”

If that seems not to be open incitement for employees of Capita Business Services to create Prosecution statements for the sake of creating them what is?

After giving the matter even a little bit of thought, it dawns on people that the BBC’s whole television licensing regime under the BBC TV Licensing™ contract is little more than a numbers racket. Seemingly a very “nice” numbers racket too by all accounts. Devised by the BBC to maximise their television licence revenue. But does it?

What is of particular interest to us at, TV Licensing Watch, is that prosecuting people for the heinous and dangerous “crime” of watching and recording live broadcast television seems to be considered by the BBC a legitimate way of “making the BBC television licence acceptable”. A very strange and very interesting way of drumming up extra business and additional revenue for the BBC, to say the least. It has to be wondered in what sort of moral and ethical vacuum the BBC, DCMS and Parliament seem to exist. However, as to “making the BBC television licence acceptable”? Does the BBC, DCMS and Parliament, seriously believe that what is outlined above is “making the BBC tv licence acceptable”?

The value of domestic cctv surveillance and handheld video camera can prove invaluable in gathering evidence of the serial abuses and misdemeanours perpetrated by employees of Capita Business Services under cover of the BBC TV Licensing™ contract. TV Licensing Watch advise anybody who has the misfortune to have face to face dealings with Capita Business Services TV Licensing™ to make an audio-visual record of those dealings in their entirety covertly or overtly with cctv and handheld video cameras.

For people who have not exercised their right to remain silent, TV Licensing Watch advise anybody who has had the misfortune to have face to face dealings with Capita Business Services TV Licensing™ and have received a summons as a consequence to contact a licensed law practitioner if: there is the slightest discrepancy between the actual situation regarding viewing habits and/or what actually happened during the interview compared with what has been written on the TVL178 Record of Interview self incrimination form.



1 comment:

  1. On pages 138 and 139 of that 2002 Service Provision Agreement are set out the target figures for the annual target number of Prosecution Statements that Capita business services are expected to achieve.

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