Various attempts have been made to raise these issues with the BBC and BBC Trust in a calm, considered way, and yet the harassment of innocent unlicensed people goes on.
The harassment consists of a monthly letter (Threat-o-gram) that seeks to misrepresent BBC/TVL, its legal status (none), its powers (few) and its relationship with the public (poor). These letters continue indefinitely whilst people continue to exercise their legal right not to deal with BBC/TVL. In some cases the tone of the letters can only be described as insulting and hysterical.
BBC/TVL then seeks to gain entry to properties to search for illicit TVs. They have no legal power of entry and rely upon subterfuge to trick to the unwary into both allowing access and confessing to the offence (often where no offence has been committed).
The Open Letter addresses these issues in legal detail. Broadly the concerns are:-
- Is harassment and misinformation a legitimate enforcement tool?
- Is there an implicit duty on public authorities to inform citizens of their rights, rather than obfuscate them?
- Should an authority with no powers of entry fabricate them from common law and subterfuge?
- Is enough being done to prevent the offensive and sometimes criminal behaviour of BBC/TVL staff?
- Is letting off half the offenders caught in the public interest?
- Are the prosecutions of remaining offenders in the public interest?
- Are the rights of offenders being respected?
- Is the automaton prosecution process capable of addressing the relevant issues of law?