Introducing Identification Cards In Britain Essay

1293 words - 5 pages

Introducing Identification Cards in Britain

In light of the current events in the USA, security on a global scale
has been criticised about the effectiveness of governments to monitor
those who could threaten civil liberties. In the UK, the question has
been raised about implementing ID cards as a 'crackdown on terrorism'.
However there are growing warnings against any rushed introduction of
compulsory ID cards in the UK, despite the concerns as to the extent
that Britain is secure from terrorism.

Supporters of the ID card declare that in these times it is more than
clear that enforcement of ID cards is priority and are a necessary
step to ensure our safety and prevent our individual identity from
being eradicated. Fred Broughton, Chairman of The England and Wales
Police federation stated that 'Security changes must therefore be made
to protect our country…the possession of identification would deal
with so many problems the police face.' He points out that ID cards
would make Britain a '…fundamentally safer place' by saving police
time, increasing the security of the nation and reducing the number of
people taken to police stations just to confirm identity.

Alternative benefits other than in counter-terrorism, are those that
would combat existing problems in the UK. For example, giving rights
to legal asylum seekers and minority groups also. It would enable
prospective employers to ensure a job applicant has the right to work
in this country, by complying with their statutory obligation. In
addition to this, it would control various crimes, such as credit card
fraud, under age purchase of goods and illegal immigrants. It would
also allow faster security checks when identification is needed.

The proposal of ID cards has its appeal; of the 89 million who arrived
at British ports last year, 29 million weren't British. Of the
minority who take up residency, they must wait 5 years to apply for
citizenship but in that period, they are subject to a collection of
entitlements to work, use the NHS, take up benefits or vote in
elections. By implementing ID cards, this could be streamlined and
documentation of migrants' rights would be clear. But the task of
implementing ID cards should not be underestimated by anyone, most
importantly the government.

Those in opposition to this view say that ID cards are unnecessary and
breach the Human Rights Act (that the government themselves
legislated). The sovereignty of the government is still preserved
however and don't have to conform to the HRA and are largely in
control of the law making process. This ignites concern that if ID
cards are implemented, despite civil liberties and the HRA then the
government following this legislation, may continue to inflict and
abuse it's power. The majority anticipate that with police power to
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