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Visits, prosecutions and fines

If you have any questions about a visit from one of our enquiry officers, a prosecution case or payment of a court fine, this page has answers to some of the most common questions. It may be useful if you have received a:

  • summons (Northern Ireland)
  • single justice procedure notice (England or Wales); or
  • conditional offer/fiscal fine (Scotland).

Enquiry officers

What happens when an enquiry officer visits a home?

Our enquiry officers will explain why they are visiting, be polite, courteous and fair, and abide by our rules of conduct.

If you allow an officer to enter your home, the visit is normally very quick. The officer simply takes a brief view of the main living areas to verify whether or not television receiving equipment is installed or in use.

When necessary, they will complete a record of interview and ask for a signature to confirm that the notes taken are an accurate account of that interview.

They will also make sure the person being interviewed knows what the consequences may be of watching or recording live TV programmes on any channel or device, or downloading or watching BBC programmes on iPlayer, without being covered by a TV Licence.

In what circumstances can TV Licensing access my property without my permission?

TV Licensing can only enter your home without your permission if authorised to do so under a search warrant granted by a magistrate (or sheriff in Scotland). They will only do this when they have reason to suspect an offence is being committed. TV Licensing will be accompanied by the police when executing a search warrant.

What rules govern records of interview made by enquiry officers?

Enquiry officers may interview an individual they suspect to have committed an offence under the Communications Act 2003 but only after they have cautioned that person (i.e. informed them of their legal rights, including that they have the right not to answer any of the questions). This is in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 or the Scottish criminal law.

An officer will make a written record of the interview and an individual has the right to refuse to sign the record or to ask for corrections to be made if they believe that it is not accurate.

What are your rules of conduct for enquiry officers?

When our officers visit a property they will:

  • Prove their identity by showing an identity card. If requested, they’ll also provide a telephone number so the person being visited can confirm the information on the card.
  • Explain why they are visiting and be polite, courteous and fair.

     

  • Enter the property only when given permission. If they’re not given permission, they will end the visit and may use detection equipment.
  • They may apply to court for a search warrant if there is reason to suspect that someone who is not covered by a TV Licence at the address is:
    • watching or recording programmes as they’re being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, or
    • downloading or watching BBC programmes on demand, including catch up TV, on BBC iPlayer
  • Follow applicable laws, regulations, policies and codes of practice.
  • Avoid threatening or intimidating behaviour.
  • Respect people’s rights to privacy and confidentiality.
  • Stop the visit if asked to leave.
How do I complain about an enquiry officer?

TV Licensing uses various measures to ensure that officers are fulfilling their duties appropriately; this includes assessing the feedback received from people visited. If a complaint is made about an enquiry officer’s conduct, we will investigate and, depending on the outcome of the investigations, take appropriate action.

Find out more about making a complaint

Vulnerable customers

A vulnerable customer is someone whose personal circumstances have a significant impact on their ability to buy or manage a TV Licence. This could be an illness or other condition. Anyone who is interviewed under caution is asked whether there are any personal circumstances they would like to make us aware of.

All TV Licensing enquiry officers receive specific training on how to respond appropriately to customers who report a disability when they visit an address or exhibit behaviour that could be indicative of a hidden disability.

Prosecution

If you have a query about an existing court case

Please call the number on the letter you have been sent or email visit@tvlicensing.co.uk.

General information

Find out how we investigate and prosecute TV Licensing offences:

TV Licensing Prosecution Code (PDF 548 Kb opens in a new window)

Côd Erlyn Trwyddedu Teledu (PDF 588 kb yn agor mewn ffenest newydd)

More help and information if you’re struggling to pay.

Paying court fines

To pay a court fine, please contact the appropriate court for your region. You will find the number on the letter you have received from the appropriate authority.

We know that some customers find paying the licence fee difficult. If you are struggling to make your payments see how we can help.

Addresses in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Please contact the court using the details on the letter you have received from them. Unfortunately we can’t provide you with a number as letters are sent by individual courts not TV Licensing.

Addresses in England and Wales

You can pay your fine in full by phone using the National payment line or online.

To pay you’ll need your account number and Division Code which you can find on the Notice of Fine you received. Please also have a valid credit/debit card to hand.

Pay by phone:

England: 0300 790 9901

Wales: 0300 790 9980

Pay online:

Go to www.gov.uk/pay-court-fine-online (opens in a new window).

General information about TV Licensing is available in other languages: