British Board of Film Classification

Quick search of releases

Advanced search

Law enforcement

Trading Standards and law enforcement officers have the power to seize illegal video works including, but not limited to, DVDs, Blu-rays and video games. The BBFC has been designated by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to provide evidence to help secure convictions under the terms of the Video Recordings Act (VRA) 1984.

The BBFC will issue a Certificate of Evidence under the VRA 1984 or the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995. This evidence is admissible in court as ‘stand alone’ evidence and does not require anyone from the BBFC to attend as a witness.

The BBFC can also assist Local Authority Trading Standards Officers and the Police in cases of VRA non-compliance. Please refer to the VRA compliance failure section for more information.

Requests

Do I need to get my case assessed by the BBFC?

In order to get an official certificate of evidence you will need to submit either a case of seized media or we can provide evidence based on the title alone. Requests should be sent to evidence@bbfc.co.uk using the relevant submission form available below.

What can/can't I submit?

Title-only request 

Where such evidence is required on a list of titles we can accept a maximum of 200 titles per case and would request that each case is accompanied by an Enforcement Information Request form detailing the following information:

  • Date of seizure
  • Exhibit label numbers for each case submitted
  • Name of defendant (where known)
  • The enquiry title must be taken from the title on screen.
  • Where a recording is a compilation of various titles (e.g. cartoons, TV programmes) the individual titles should be provided.
  • Further details of the Board’s requirements can be found on the forms themselves.

Seized works

Where such evidence is required we can accept a maximum of 8 seized discs per case and would request that each case is accompanied by an Enforcement Information Request form detailing the following information:

  • Date of seizure
  • Exhibit label numbers for each disc submitted
  • Name of defendant (where known)
  • Further details of the Board’s requirements can be found on the forms themselves.

How do I submit?

Simply complete the submission form which can be found below and send it to evidence@bbfc.co.uk for title only cases.

Media items must be addressed to VRA certificates of evidence, BBFC, 3 Soho Square, London, W1D 3HD and should be accompanied by a hard copy of the submission form. Physical media should be sent securely packaged with instructions of any security procedures that should be followed. The BBFC cannot be held responsible for any evidence that goes missing en-route to the BBFC, so a secure means of tracked delivery should be used.

How much does it cost?

It’s completely free to Law Enforcement Officials. Our law enforcement work in support of Trading Standards and the Police is covered by the income we receive from the classification of works under the Video Recordings Act 1984.

As part of our role we will measure and research cases to check whether they are classified works and, if so, whether they are identical or different to the classified version we have in our archive. Following this technical comparison, where a media item has been sent, and research where a list of titles has been sent, a Certificate of Evidence will be drawn up signed by an Officer of the BBFC who has been authorised by the Department of Culture Media and Sport to do so.

Is there anything else I need to consider?

The BBFC will notify each LEA contact once their case is completed. All cases must be collected in person from our premises or by a courier company as the BBFC can not return them in the post.

When sending a courier company to collect evidence, please note that works will only be released to third parties when they can provide us with the key information regarding what they are collecting. The should arrive with the name of the officer who the case is being returned to and should be able to tell us the full address of the destination, in order to ensure the security of the evidence. Without the relevant knowledge regarding the case, or identification, we reserve the right to withhold the case.

Searching for R18 titles on the BBFC website

R18 works are filtered out from the main public search as they can have explicit and/or offensive titles.  In order to search for these works you will need to use the advanced search and select 'enable adult content'.  This will prompt you to enter a date of birth before searching. 

Related documents and downloads

Share this!

Facebook logo Twitter logo