TV Licence & Council Tax Dodgers Face Arrest At UK Airports
Travellers departing from the UK should be aware of new measures said to be now in place at UK border checkpoints to detain and possibly prevent non payers of the TV Licence fee or Council Tax from leaving the UK.
It has been reported by The Sunday Post in Scotland that new legislation and tighter border controls are being used to identify fee-dodgers if they attempt to leave the country.
The UK Government’s E-Borders initiative and the Immigration Act 2014 allows greater sharing of information between police and third parties, allowing for more in-depth checks at borders.
Head of Border Policing Command, Detective Superintendent Alan Crawford, said: “There are information sharing protocols in place and we continue to work closely with our partners in law enforcement.
“We will always take action against those who have outstanding fines or warrants, and those who travel through our airports will undoubtedly interact with police and law enforcement as part of their journey.
“I would urge anyone who is currently subject to an outstanding fine or warrant and preparing to embark on a trip to address the matter urgently to ensure you are not inconvenienced and can fully enjoy your break.”
The Government’s E-Borders initiative was designed to monitor and snare extremists and criminals. It allows passenger information to be checked against watch lists and security databases, alerting officials to people of interest.
However, its remit has been extended to flag up people who have not paid their TV licence or Council Tax.
With around 80% of trips now being monitored, the summer holiday period could prove a problem for anyone who has dodged the £145 a year licence fee, especially as the UK Government plans to introduce blanket exit checks and wants this in place as early as April.
More than 200,000 people were prosecuted for non-payment of their TV licenses last year in the UK with those found guilty of evading the licence fee given a criminal record and a fine of up to £1,000. People who fail to pay the fine can be jailed.
Passengers who have repeatedly refused to pay their fines or turn up in court are being apprehended at Scottish airports and presented with their fines to be paid on exit. If they refuse, they will be arrested and preventing from leaving the country.
“Glasgow Airport is already rolling out the initiative,” an insider told The Sunday Post. “Police Scotland has detained a number of people who were planning to exit the country who have had warrants issued for non-payment of their TV licences and council tax. If a fine is outstanding, they are given an opportunity to pay it or they are arrested and prevented from leaving the country.”
Police Scotland would not comment on the number of people being stopped at the country’s exit ports.
E-Borders, devised by the Labour government in 2003, was designed to count everyone coming in and out of the UK.