Letter: ID cards are nothing to fear

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I AM A German citizen and have had an identity card since my 16th birthday (Letters, 4 September). Neither I nor any of my family or friends have ever been hassled by the police to show our cards, not even in Berlin, which has been occupied by British, French and United States forces for a large part of my life.

My identity card has so far only had advantages. Unfortunately, at 22, I am often asked for proof of my age and use my identity card in those cases. I can use it to travel freely in Europe without having to carry a passport. The identity card bears my name, my photograph, my date and place of birth and my current place of registration in Germany.

In Britain, driving licences and signing-on books for benefits are often accepted as proof of identification or, even worse, a letter from a bank bearing an address. These documents have no pictures and can be used by anyone, as two friends of mine who were recently burgled, have experienced. If I stole a British female's driving licence, no one would question that it was mine.

Why do so many British people oppose and fear a national identity card? The police could feel more confident in chasing the real criminals and those who have nothing to hide could proudly carry their identification in their purse. If they feel oppressed by the presence of a little piece of plastic, they could hide it under the mattress until they needed it.

Birgit Nakielski