Backdoor ID card – UK Drivers face orders to carry licence at all times
‘ID cards by the back door’: Drivers face order to carry licence at all times
A senior magistrate wants drivers to carry documents so they can prove their identity
Says requirement will help police and courts prove who committed offences
By Martin Beckford
PUBLISHED: 00:33, 28 October 2012 | UPDATED: 00:34, 28 October 2012
Motorists could be required to keep driving licences in their cars under a new proposal being derided as a national ID card scheme ‘by the back door’.
A senior magistrate wants Britain’s 38 million drivers to be forced to carry their documents so that they can prove their identity at all times.
He says such a requirement will help police and courts prove who was behind the wheel when offences are committed, and stop people caught speeding or drink-driving giving false names and addresses.
It would also make it easier to spot those who drive when banned.
If the proposal is agreed by the 28,000-strong Magistrates’ Association, they will write to Ministers recommending its introduction.
In America, and many other countries across Europe, drivers already have to take their licences with them whenever they get into their cars.
Drivers stopped by police in Britain are given a week to produce the document at their local station.
Tony Kaye, who sits on the bench in Buckinghamshire and has been a magistrate for 35 years, said: ‘It’s a fairly simple, straightforward motion – it’s due to the challenges that arise in court because of a lack of identification. You sometimes get people who want to push the boundaries.
‘They don’t co-operate as one would expect. This is just an effort to say, as in many other countries, if you’re driving this lethal weapon, we should be able to identify who you are.’
The proposal would help police and courts prove who was behind the wheel when offences are committed
However, there are concerns that it is another way of introducing an ID card scheme. Labour proposed a £5 billion plan for citizens to carry ID cards but the Coalition scrapped it after the Election.
Andrew Howard, of the AA, said: ‘We have already voted against ID cards. This would be an incredible burden on the population. Not carrying a licence could be a crime that drivers commit several times a day.’ And Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow, said: ‘I’m absolutely opposed to this. Motorists are being hammered enough without being treated as criminals. The ID card went out in the 1950s and it’s astonishing that these magistrates are trying to bring it back through the back door.’
The plan will be discussed at next month’s annual meeting of the Magistrates’ Association.