From 2008, passengers will need to carry ID while travelling within UKNovember 18th, 2007 - 2:55 pm ICT by admin
London, Nov 18 (ANI): In a bid to check terror threats in the country, the British government is all set to make it mandatory for passengers on domestic flights and ferries between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland to carry identity papers from next year.
Once the order comes into effect, it will allow security agencies to do identity checks on all domestic flights and ferries in the country. The move envisages allowing the police to build up a complete picture of passenger movements between Ulster and the mainland.
Under the new system, personal information given by a passenger when purchasing a ticket will be checked on police computers looking for possible suspects, the Daily Mail reported, adding that travellers would also be required to produce a valid passport or driving licence to buy a ticket.
The proposed system is similar to that already in place to check those travelling to and from Britain on international flights.
The Home Office has confirmed the measures would be introduced next year using a so-called “statutory instrument” signed off by Home Secretary-Jacqui Smith, without the need for a full debate in the Commons.
According to the Government, the move will enforce powers included in the Police and Justice Act 2006, which allows officers to monitor all “flights and voyages” starting in the UK.
“It is often the case that domestic travel forms part of a journey beginning or ending overseas For example, having arrived in the Republic or Northern Ireland from overseas, terrorist targets may then use domestic air and sea routes for travel to…the UK mainland, the Home Office publication, written last year, stated.
“The lack of data on the domestic leg of such journeys creates a critical gap in the intelligence picture,” it added.
However, the move has invited criticism from Unionists.
Democratic Unionist Party MP Jeffrey Donaldson said the proposals were an “outrage”.
“It treats the people of Northern Ireland as second-class citizens and if it goes ahead it will be challenged in the courts.
“We are as concerned about our security as anyone else in the United Kingdom but these measures should be put in place on the land border with the Irish Republic,” he said.
Tony Bunyan, of civil liberties organisation Statewatch, was quoted as saying: “The Government is using the fear of terrorism to build up an apparatus of far-ranging social control that allows them to build up a complete picture of our lives.” (ANI)
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