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Pub door under-age ID check

It can happen at any time of year, not just before Christmas; young people trying to get into a pub or club by showing identity cards or documents that aren’t theirs, or aren’t valid.

As the authorities admit, door staff are on the front line of this issue of false ID. It is essential that they understand how to identify false ID and deal with it appropriately. Only certain categories of person (for example, a police constable) have legal powers to seize false ID, according to Home Office guidance. However, any member of pub or door staff presented with false ID may ask for it to be handed over; and they may advise the individual that if they fail to hand over the false ID, the police may be called.

Kirsty Green, a Licensing Enforcement Officer with South Yorkshire Police, said: “In Barnsley, staff at licensed premises will seize identification if they believe the individual with that ID is using it fraudulently. This could be someone using another person’s ID, or someone using a genuine ID document that has been illegally altered or obtained, or a completely fake document with an ID that does not exist.

“Clearly if someone is using another person’s ID, this can have some significant consequences for the person whose ID it is. There could be financial implications involved in trying to retrieve the ID, as well as the potential for lengthy delays in getting official documentation returned – not ideal if you plan to travel anywhere or need your ID for a test or work!

“I appreciate this sounds a bit extreme but it’s worth everyone being aware of the potential for identification documents to be seized by licensed premises if there is a legitimate concern that an ID is being used fraudulently. To anyone considering loaning their under-age friends a form of ID to gain access to pubs or clubs, or to buy age restricted items, consider if it’s really worth the risk of losing your ID.”

As the Home Office guidance says, the way to check an ID is to check the photograph; but to do that, door staff have to be somewhere well lit, or be provided with light sources to ensure that they can check ID. The guidance has this advice:

Ask the person for their date of birth – this can lead to them mixing their own with the one on the ID or not being able to recite the date on the ID on the spot.

Ask the person for their star sign – a young person may have memorised the date of birth on the ID which they are using but are unlikely to know the corresponding star sign.

Ask for another form of ID, such as a bank or student card. If someone steals or borrows another person’s ID, they are unlikely to take other forms and their purse/wallet will have their own ID in it.

Ask for the postcode on the ID; a person using borrowed ID may know the first line of the address but may have difficulty remembering the postcode.

For the guidance visit the Home Office website.


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