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1 July 2013, 15:23
A plan to seize fake ID's in pubs and bars in Ipswich is going to be extended to the whole of Suffolk.
The pilot in Ipswich started in April 2011 and encourages door staff to notify the police of any IDs, such as driving licences and passports that are believed to fake, altered or that may be being used by someone other than the owner when entering a premises that sells alcohol. By doing so the potential for an offence of selling alcohol to an underage individual is being reduced and in some cases establishments are not allowed by their premises license to have under 18's on site at all.
From the start of the pilot in April 2011 to December 2012, 182 potentially false IDs were seized. Of these, 121 were recorded as a crime and investigated by police and 112 resulted in police action. In many of these cases the ID is retained by police and is returned to the appropriate organisations to destroy at the cost of the owner as it has been compromised. If an ID is incorrectly seized in error it is returned to the owner.
PC Jim McAuley from Suffolk Police's Night Time Economy Team said: "I am pleased at the success of the Ipswich pilot which is now being extended across the county.
"In line with the National Alcohol Strategy and working with our partner organisations, I am hopeful that this scheme will have a positive impact on reducing underage drinking in Suffolk. When children consume alcohol it can lead to long-term health issues, alcohol dependency and make the individual more vulnerable to becoming a victim of crime or committing a criminal offence.
"I would like to stress that the key aim of the scheme is to educate young people regarding the potential harm associated with alcohol and to help them make positive choices in their lives."
The scheme also in turn benefits licensed premises that can face heavy sanctions if they breach the law by selling to underage persons. They could be subject to a maximum penalty of £20,000 or a closure notice for up to 14 days.
General manager of Liquid & Envy in Ipswich, Glen Freeman said: "We have focussed on building a good working relationship with the police and we were only too happy to participate in being the pilot venue for this initiative. There has been an increase in recent times of customers attempting to gain entry with a false ID or someone else's ID, and door staff need to be extra vigilant in stamping this out. It has been good to work closely with the police to tackle this issue together."