Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Police and the National Identity Register

My apologies for not blogging much recently, this citizen has been rather busy. Thankfully the petition to objecting to ID cards coming to an end has given me some material to work with.

With the end of the petition, the Prime Minister sent an email reply to the 27,000 signatories. Within the email was a rather controversial paragraph relating to police access to the National Identity Register.
"They will be able, for example, to compare the fingerprints found at the scene of some 900,000 unsolved crimes against the information held on the register."
This has caused some alarm, the police should not simply be allowed to casually look up anyone's details in an attempt to match fingerprints to people.

Hopefully this is not the case, although it's hard to tell from what people are saying.

Blair's spokesman:
"If the police ask for fingerprints to be cross-checked, that has always been part of the intention of the bill."
So the NIR would simply be used for checks, but who exactly will be cross checked?

Joan Ryan:
"There won't be any fishing expeditions. That is complete nonsense. That is not what can happen. We've always said one of the real advantages of identity cards would be the fight against crime and protecting the public."

"If police want to check fingerprints found at the scene of the crime that they can't find on their own databases then they will work with IPS staff."

"And surely no-one would suggest that we should put obstacles in the way of police investigating crime and bringing offenders to justice?"
Joan doesn't shed any more light on the matter, will the police simply be able to run through the National Identity Register looking for a match or will it require a specific person? To my mind, it would be acceptable to perform a check on a specific person if they had reasonable grounds for suspicion. I hope that's also the Home Office's view.

citizenandreas [at] slick47 [dot] co [dot] uk

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