February 11th, 2023 | Megan Priestman

Britain Has Special Police To Protect And Fund The BBC

The United Kingdom's television license is strictly enforced.
My husband and I moved from Alberta to England in January of this year so I can complete my law degree in the country. I had read articles about how England was becoming a surveillance state and how regulated the British people are, but I didn’t quite know to what extent. 
It took only three days for the TV Licence police to come knocking at our new rental property. For those who don’t know, the British people are forced to pay for a TV licence (which still applies for households that only have computers or smartphones). The annual fee is £159.00 per household, which equates to approximately $256.00 CAD per year.  
Below is a copy of the threatening letter we received at our door. The letter clearly states you can go to the TV Licence website to advise that you don’t need a TV licence, but even if you do so, the TV police “may still visit to confirm this”. 

(click to view full size)

You might think to yourself, “Isn’t the £159.00 just the service fee for watching tv? Like how we used to pay for cable or satellite back in the day?” No. The annual licence fee goes towards the state-funded media. As the TV Licensing website indicates, “By buying a licence, you support the creation of BBC programmes and services, and new ways of bringing them to you. Our purpose is to ensure as much of the fee as possible goes towards funding them.”
The TV Licence website goes on to indicate that “86% of the licence fee is spent on BBC TV channels, radio stations, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sounds and online services”, with the rest being spent on employee wages and lost revenue from pensioners who get the licence fee waived if they’re over 75. 
In addition to the threat of a £1,000.00 fine plus legal fees and surprise home visits, the TV Licence website also indicates that the TV police “have a fleet of detector vans that can detect the use of TV receiving equipment at specifically targeted addresses within minutes”. Scary stuff. 
To add insult to injury, the TV Licence website has a Top 10 list of what they believe to be “bizarre logic and a lack of common sense” reasons they’ve received from people who don’t want to pay for state-funded TV (you can find that list here). The TV Licence website goes on to brag, “[d]espite the weird and wonderful excuses given by licence fee evaders, TV Licensing caught more than 338,000 people watching TV without a licence over the first ten months of 2010”.
The issue isn’t solely with the aggressive extortion used to fund the BBC. It would appear that despite their public mandate to “provide impartial news and information”, less than half of Britons trusted the BBC to tell the truth as of December 2019. I wouldn’t doubt that the same sentiments about media bias exist in Canada. But at least the CBC doesn't have police that send aggressive and threatening letters, show up at our houses unannounced and drive by our homes in high-tech vans. 
The BBC TV licence racket is just one of the many ways the British people are over-governed. Why the British people haven’t done something about it is beyond me.