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fatbuddha

In The Absence Of Compulsory Id Cards...

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A question for any HPCers who know a bit about the police and legal system. Can the police force you - a person innocent of any crime - to identify yourself?

I've always been a decent law abiding serf of this nation (for all the good it's done me). Never had any dealings with the police, apart from a few stop'n'frisks when I was a saucy-looking yoot many years ago. Never been arrested, questioned, had my prints taken, nothing; not so much as a speeding ticket.

Now, I often go about my lawful business without a scrap of ID on me - most of the time I need nothing more than my door keys and a bit of cash, so what's the point in lugging around my mobile, credit cards, driving license etc. etc. If I'm driving then of course my car is registered to me, but if I'm just strolling around me manor then I'll probably carry nothing that could identify me.

Say the local constabulary asked me to identify myself - I've done nothing wrong, but say I just happen to have wandered into the proximity of a demo or riot or some sort of crime or disorder, or say I'm a scruffy looking peon with the temerity to saunter down a street populated by my financial betters. I don't want to lie to the officers, so I wouldn't give a false name or details. But say I refused to identify myself, as I felt it was none of their damn business. What exactly could they do?

I refuse to volunteer my name, regardless of their pleas or threats; they can "Papieren, bitte!" all they like but I've got no ID on me; my biometric details - including fingerprints - are not held anywhere, so even if they dragged me to the station and took my prints I wouldn't show up. What on earth can they do?

If you politely refused to identify yourself, would you be arrested for obstruction or similar? If you were, would you then get the 'don't be a silly boy' treatment and have your prints forcibly taken (can they do that?)? Would they hold you in detention for a period, then be forced to let you go?

I suppose all this would become moot if you have to get a biometric passport, but for the time being could you truly be unidentifiable?

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I've always thought lack of Id makes it easy to just give a fake name and address if you get pulled by a conductor for fare evasion.

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I've always thought lack of Id makes it easy to just give a fake name and address if you get pulled by a conductor for fare evasion.

I was near a bloke who got caught with no ticket on the train about a month ago by ticket inspectors, not police. He had no money for the fine (£25 I think), or said he hadn't, so opted for the fine in the post. He had no id so they asked for a name and address, which they checked by radioing it in. It came back quickly as 'no record' so they asked to be met by police at the next stop.

Databases are quickly checked these days.

On the OP, I think you are obliged by law to give a name and address under some kind of 'vagrancy' act. There have been instances of people being locked up on the principle of insisting being 'anonymous.' (could be a terrorist :o )

It also seems that we are one of the few countries left where you don't have to carry your licence and vehicle docs with you when you're driving. It save hassle if you do but you don't have to.

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The gist of the law under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 is that you can be arrested without a warrant if you are suspected of having committed an offence and the constable needs to ascertain your name and address.

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Yes, you can be arrested while a constable ascertains your identity.....of course you must be suspected of committing a crime for this to happen.

edit to add KO answered already

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  • 141 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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