Compulsory ID cards 'could assist crime fight'

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The Independent Online
MANDATORY national identity cards should be introduced throughout the European Community to combat potential increases in terrorism, drug trafficking and criminal activities after the abolition of border controls next year, a senior British police officer said yesterday, writes Terry Kirby.

Ron Hadfield, Chief Constable of the West Midlands and vice- chairman of the Association of Chief Police Officers' international affairs committee, said that even a voluntary card might become almost universally accepted because of its attractiveness to banks and shops.

He told the International Police Exhibition and Conference in London that if existing border controls were to be weakened, an identity card system and other compensatory measures had to be provided. These should include a strengthening of the Prevention of Terrorism Act to enable police to detain suspects more easily, the strengthening of the Aviation and Maritime Security Act to require transport organisations to vet passengers, and the introduction of a European-wide arrest warrant to simplify extradition.

Mr Hadfield said: 'I still believe that these are the measures that would most effectively counter a lessening of border controls. Although I acknowledge the likely impact and implication of the requirements, I consider that there would be a far greater cost, were there to be an increase in terrorism, drug importation and the movement of criminals.'

He added that an identity card should be incapable of being forged and incorporate the holder's fingerprints and photograph.

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