Two out of three of the defendants are women – thought to be because they are more often at home when enforcement officers call.So? Apart from soft-hearted magistrates, does anyone else think that women should escape punishment for a crime that men would get punished for?
The revelations have raised concerns that the fee evaders are being treated with a heavy hand and face tougher penalties than drug users and shoplifters.Then increase the penalties for drug users and shoplifters – job done!
After all, it’s not like most of the fines issued even get paid anyway…
Magistrates called for the offence to be decriminalised so defendants are dealt with outside the courts.Farm it out to private enterprise and I think you’d find that the bailiffs would be going in even more frequently, not less! What would the bleeding hearts say then?
Civil liberties groups said fee evaders would find themselves branded as criminals when undergoing a CRB check.If you’re the sort to evade paying your TV license (currently a criminal offence, whatever anyone might want it to be, and more to the point, known to be so) are you the sort to obey all other laws?
Nick Pickles from Big Brother Watch, said: ‘A criminal conviction carries huge repercussions and it is questionable if a TV licensing offence warrants such a heavy handed approach. A civil alternative would still allow revenue to be recovered without blighting people’s futures with the seriousness of a criminal conviction.’