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Plan For `Internal Borders` Within The UK

2009/04/05
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Under the new powers, police will be able to track the movements of around 60 million domestic passengers a year.

by Jason Lewis
(Daily Mail)

Passengers on ferries to the Isle of Wight and Scottish islands such as Mull and Skye will soon have to carry identity papers to comply with new police anti-terror powers.

And travellers flying between British cities or to Northern Ireland face having their personal data logged when booking tickets and checking in.

Until now ferry passengers on most routes in Britain have not been required to produce ID and internal flight passengers only face random police checks.

But under new Government security rules that will come into force next year, personal data, including name, date of birth and home address, will be typed into a computer record for the police by the booking clerk or travel agent.

Passengers will also face further ID checks when boarding their flight or ferry.

Under the new powers, police will be able to track the movements of around 60 million domestic passengers a year.

The controversial measures were due to be introduced two years ago, but were dropped after protests from Ulster politicians, who said the plan would construct ‘internal borders’ in the UK.

But last week the Government used the release of its anti-terrorism strategy to quietly reintroduce them. Buried on Page 113 of the 174-page ‘CONTEST’ document was the announcement of ‘new police powers to collect advanced passenger data on some domestic air and sea journeys’.

Last night a Home Office spokesman confirmed the measures would ‘require passengers to show photo ID, such as a driving licence or the (proposed) Government ID cards, when booking tickets for domestic air and sea journeys’.

He added that ‘ferry journeys to the Isle of Wight or the Isle of Skye’ and ‘private jet passengers’ would be included in the new measures, due to be formally announced later this year.

The powers will be introduced using a so-called ‘statutory instrument’ signed off by the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, without the need for a full debate in the House of Commons.

A 2006 Home Office report said: ‘This data will provide the police with invaluable intelligence, enabling them to track the movements of suspected criminal and terrorist passengers.’

However it acknowledged that the new rules would ‘impact upon carrier check-in transaction times’.

‘Since passports are not required on domestic journeys, the required data – taken from travel documents and forms of ID – would need to be keyed in manually,’ the report stated.

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