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Identity Cards (Production)

Volume 440: debated on Thursday 24 July 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has considered the case of John Bunyan, Wildwood Rise, Golders Green, who was, on 21st May, fined 10s at Bow Street for failing to produce his identity card to a policeman who had reported him for a motor car obstruction in Great Queen Street; and, in view of the fact that Mr. Bunyan did produce his licence and insurance papers, if he will remit the fine in this case and instruct the Metropolitan Police that they are not to demand identity cards in future where other satisfactory proof of identity is tendered.

Mr. Bunyan committed an offence by failing to produce his identity card when asked to do so by a police officer in uniform, or within 48 hours at a police station, and it was only after he had made it clear at a subsequent interview with the police that his refusal was quite deliberate that proceedings were taken. I can find no grounds for recommending any remission of the penalty which the court thought it right to impose upon him for this offence.

Does that answer mean that two years after the war it is implicit upon all citizens at all times to carry identity cards, or to be prepared to produce them within 48 hours at a police station?

Would my right hon. Friend consider making a statement on the circumstances in which law abiding citizens must carry and produce their identity cards so long after the war?

Would my right hon. Friend reply to the last part of the Question more deliberately than he has done?

No, Sir, I am not prepared to instruct the Metropolitan Police to do other than obey the law themselves.