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Identity Card

Home Department written question – answered on 29th April 2004.

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Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Conservative, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what powers he plans to make available to the police in the event that an individual refuses to verify his or her identity following introduction of identity cards.

Photo of Des Browne Des Browne Minister of State (Citizenship, Immigration and Counter-Terrorism), Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Citizenship, Immigration and Nationality)

The draft Identity Cards Bill that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary published on 26 April makes clear that it will not be a requirement for individuals to carry an identity card or to produce a card to a police officer on demand.

As set out in "Legislation on Identity Cards: a consultation (CM 6178)" there will be no new power for the police to stop someone and demand to see their card. Existing police powers to require drivers to produce their driving licence (which could be designated as an ID card) on demand or within seven days at a police station will remain. Added to this, if someone has been arrested for a recordable offence, existing powers will allow the police to take reasonable steps to identify them. This currently includes powers to check biometric information. There are also classes of criminal offences which are non-arrestable and are enforced by sending a summons. In these situations, the police have to be certain of a person's name and address. If a person refuses to identify themselves in these circumstances or the police are not satisfied with the information given, they have a power of arrest after which biometric checks can be made. If it were not possible to identify an arrested person otherwise, for example checking police records, a check could then be made on the person's biometric against the National Identity Register.

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