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High Street stores to offer ID services

6 May 2009

Stores could offer a local, convenient location where people could apply for an ID card or biometric passport.

Several organisations have already expressed interest in working with the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) to offer their customers the ability to record their fingerprints and photos in order to apply for an ID card or second generation passport.

Convenient and cost effective

We believe the most convenient and cost effective way to help people apply for identity documents is for photos and fingerprints to be collected by trusted high street businesses – just like passport photos are taken now. This would be strictly regulated by the Home Office.

Interested groups so far include The Post Office, the National Pharmacy Association and the Photo Marketing Association International.

Economic benefits

The economic benefit of having a secure, nationally accepted ID system is estimated to be up to £6bn over the next 30 years.

Other benefits include:

  • helping to protect people from identity fraud
  • making sure people are who they say they are
  • helping employers ensure their employees have the right to work in the UK
  • making it harder for criminals and terrorists to build false identities
  • improving access to public services

Vital investment

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the cards represent 'a vital investment in the long term future of this country’s economy and security.’

She said that the service offered by high street retailers would make the process easier for everyone who wanted a card.
 
‘While private companies will clearly benefit from the increased footfall from this service, their customers will benefit from being able to quickly provide their biometrics while they are out doing the shopping,' she said.

Greater Manchester first to offer the cards

The Home Secretary said people living in Manchester will have the first chance to apply voluntarily for an ID card. A pilot project there will start later this year.

Offering the cards in Manchester will fulfil a commitment made by the Home Secretary last November to make some cards available from this autumn.

Gradually building the card's distribution will ensure that card take-up and technological capabilities build up side by side. It will also give everyone involved in the process a chance to become familiar with the cards and how they can be used.

The city’s airport is already working with the passport service to introduce identity cards for airside workers from this autumn.

Other cities will follow Manchester's lead, before the service is implemented nation-wide, a process that is likely to start in 2012.

Are you interested in getting an ID card?

If you are interested in having an ID card, find out more (new window).


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