New Guidance on False ID

Posted: Friday, 24 August 2012 @ 11:44

The Home Office have just published a 45 page updated Guidance on False ID, replacing the February 2011 edition. The full document can be found on the Home Office website.

It seeks to offer best practice guidance on identification evidence, where it is required to prevent under age sales of alcohol, what types of ID are acceptable, checking for forgeries, checking for wrongful use of genuine ID, and handling confiscated ID.

The Guidance contains:

1. helpful examples of Military ID, which has been allowed as proof of age since March 2011.
2. examples of common forgeries to help management staff and door staff look out for them.
3. general guidance to door staff
4. a useful reminder of the weapons available to the Police to prosecute those using false ID, namely the Identity Documents Act 2010, the Fraud Act 2006, and the Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981.
5. a reminder that where alcohol is sold the mandatory ID policy should comply with the Equality Act 2010
6. suggestions on what to do in the event of a complaint about ID retained by the premises or police

At long last the Home Office have recognised that only a police constable has a right to confiscate ID. This is not what they said previously, and in my earlier blogs I argued that the Home Office was wrong. Their guidance now is that the person using false ID should be asked to hand it over, and informed that if they refuse the police may be called to investigate. This usually does the trick!

What is perhaps is not so clear cut is their advice on handling false ID. You should have a procedure for recording all incidents relating to false ID, and for storing the false or wrongly used ID collected. Whether you use the bailment forms and procedure suggested is up to you. What is suggested may be impracticable in every situation.

The Home Office Guide is a best practice guide. It is not compulsory, and you may already have in place appropriate policies and procedures. But it is my view that it is compulsory reading for all door staff, management, and Police.

Remember that it is a mandatory condition on every Premises Licence authorising the sale of alcohol to have in place a written policy dealing with the prevention of sale of alcohol to under age persons. The minimum standard is to challenge those believed to be under 18, with minimum standards of ID which are acceptable (with photograph, date of birth, and holographic mark), but of course your Premises Licence may already have conditions regarding your procedures with a higher standard, such as Challenge 21 or 25.

Whatever the situation, you must have a written policy, and it may be a good idea to take on board this Home Office Guide and include its recommendations of best practice into your written policy.

For advice on this please contact:

Nigel Musgove
Licensing Law Specialist
01285 847001

Blog by Nigel Musgrove
Nigel has been providing dispute resolution advice as a solicitor for over 35 years. As well as advising SMEs and business owners on disputes he also offers a specialist licensing law service. View profile
Call Nigel on +44 (0)1285 847 001 or by email
This blog is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor is it intended to be a complete and authoritative statement of the law, and what we say might be out of date by the time you read it. You should always seek legal advice to confirm whether or how any information in this article applies to your particular situation. We offer a free telephone consultation to discuss your particular circumstances.

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