Section 60 — Power to use fingerprints to check applicant's identity

Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 9:45 am on 8th March 2007.

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Photo of George Reid George Reid None 9:45 am, 8th March 2007

Group 6 is on fingerprints. Amendment 12 is grouped with amendments 13 and 28.

Photo of Robert Brown Robert Brown Liberal Democrat

During stage 2 consideration, I agreed to consider further the provisions in the bill that relate to the use of fingerprints to confirm the identity of scheme members and applicants to the scheme. The committee was rightly concerned to limit the taking of fingerprints to circumstances in which it was absolutely necessary. Such a power already exists in the Police Act 1997 in respect of enhanced disclosure but is used very infrequently. Amendments 12, 13 and 28 tighten the provisions in the bill and the 1997 act to allow ministers to use fingerprints for the purposes of identity checking only if the other forms of evidence that are provided are insufficient. In essence, fingerprints will be used only as the method of last resort for confirming identity.

I move amendment 12.

Photo of Iain Smith Iain Smith Liberal Democrat

I thank the minister for responding to the issues that were raised at stage 2. My concern at that stage was that the bill could allow for the taking of fingerprints to confirm identity to become routine rather than remain the exception, and I am pleased that amendments 12, 13 and 28 clarify that it would be used only in exceptional circumstances in which no other means of identification was sufficient to guarantee that the person was who they said they were. I welcome the amendments.

Amendment 12 agreed to.

Amendment 13 moved—[Robert Brown]—and agreed to.