FECL 05 (April 1992):

VOLUNTARY ID CARDS BY POLICE

Senior British police officers have told a committee of members of parliament that British citizens should carry identity cards to help the police control crime and combat illegal immigration if current border controls between Britain and other European states are relaxed. But in a significant reversal of their previous thinking, the police told the Home Affairs committee that "voluntary" cards could be introduced even before controls were eased.

Ron Hatfield, chief constable of the West Midlands force, said that the police backed the British government's opposition to pressure from other EC countries to weaken border controls. But, reflecting police fears that the regulations might be eroded over time anyway, despite the government's rearguard action, he said that the police had become convinced by arguments that a voluntary system could be put in place. The cards, while voluntary, would effectively be universal, because people would find them so useful.

If controls were ever fully relaxed, however, the police stressed they would demand mandatory identity cards.

Jolyon Jenkins

 

Source: Daily Telegraph, 13.2.92