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How ID cards could increase crime Jun 07

One of the Government’s many and varied excusesreasons for introducing ID cards is the reduce crime.

I won’t repeat the arguments so let’s take it as read that ID cards won’t significantly reduce benefit fraud and isn’t the best use of untold billions to fight terrorism. Establishing the identity of a suspect is not a big problem for the police.

So what effect will the introduction of ID cards have on crime levels? The total number of new offences created by the Labour Government since 1997 must be pushing 700 now. The ID cards bill will create “a string of new offences“, although mostly civil, rather than criminal, offences. However – if I understand this correctly – failing to pay a fine imposed as a civil penalty would be a criminal offence.

As people refuse to register for ID cards, forget to inform the Government of changes of address and miss appointments for biometric scanning (for example because their child is off school sick), excessive civil penalties will be imposed and criminal offences will inevitably follow.

Then there are the additional crimes that will be committed in order to work around the new system. Illegally gaining access to the database will surely be attempted, probably successfully on a number of occasions through insider access before hacking is even considered. And then there’s ID card forgery itself, a new crime that will prove popular with certain types of criminal gang.

This is obviously conjecture but rather than a concrete assessment, this is intended to make a point: that despite the Government’s professed intentions, ID cards could actually increase crime.

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