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Identity Cards

Volume 455: debated on Monday 15 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how his Department will determine whether a civil offence has been committed under section 7(2) or (3) of the Identity Cards Act 2006; and who will be responsible for liaising with the Crown Prosecution Service over such offences. (109837)

No-one will be liable for a civil penalty under section 7 of the Identity Cards Act until the scheme has been made compulsory, which will require further primary legislation. All civil penalties will be determined in accordance with sections 31 to 34 of the Identity Cards Act and the Code of Practice which will be published before the commencement of the national identity scheme. The Crown Prosecution Service will not be involved in the administration of civil penalties, which do not relate to criminal offences and will be the responsibility of the Secretary of State.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans his Department has to use local authority offices or facilities to facilitate the recording of biometric information for the identity cards programme; (114031)

(2) how many regional offices will be established to facilitate the recording of biometric information for the identity cards programme; and where the offices will be situated.

The Identity and Passport Service currently has no plans to set up further regional offices in addition to the current seven regional passport offices in London, Newport, Peterborough, Glasgow, Durham, Liverpool and Belfast. An expanded local office network is already being put in place in order to meet and interview first-time applicants for passports (Authentication by Interview) and to prepare for recording biometrics. This network consists of 69 offices throughout the UK in the following proposed locations:

Aberdeen, Aberystwyth, Andover, Armagh, Barnstaple, Belfast, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Birmingham, Blackburn, Boston, Bournemouth, Bristol, Bury St. Edmunds, Camborne, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Cheltenham, Coleraine, Crawley, Derby, Dover, Dumfries, Dundee, Edinburgh, Exeter, Galashiels, Glasgow, Hastings, Hull, Inverness, Ipswich, Kendal, Kilmarnock, Kings Lynn, Leeds, Leicester, Lincoln, Liverpool, London, Luton, Maidstone, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Newcastle, Newport, Newport (Isle of Wight), Northallerton, Northampton, Norwich, Oban, Omagh, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Reading, Scarborough, Shrewsbury, Sheffield, St Austell, Stirling, Stoke-on-Trent, Swansea, Swindon, Warwick, Wick, Wrexham, Yeovil and York.

These offices will open in 2007 and the network will subsequently be used for the national identity scheme. Where the network of enrolment centres needs to be further expanded, we will first seek to use high street offices that are already used by central and local government. The extent to which this will be done and the offices involved will be determined following further analysis of the needs of the scheme. We will also look at options for the private sector providing outlets. The Authentication by Interview project for passports is working with local authorities to make use of their offices to provide remote interview facilities (via videoconferencing) for remote communities that are not near any of the 69 local interview offices.