Ipswich to have ID card office

IPSWICH is set to have its own identity card office in preparation for when new legislation takes hold next year.As part of the national identity card scheme, everyone over the age of 16 applying for a passport will have their details - including fingerprints, eye or facial scans - added to a national identity register from 2008.

IPSWICH is set to have its own identity card office in preparation for when new legislation takes hold next year.

As part of the national identity card scheme, everyone over the age of 16 applying for a passport will have their details - including fingerprints, eye or facial scans - added to a national identity register from 2008.

The first identity cards will be issued in 2009 and as part of the process of introducing the system a total of 69 locations across the country have been lined up as interview centres.

Ipswich's centre, one of several in the East of England, will be in Crown House, on Crown Street.

Part of the building currently stages the “theory” part of the driving exam.

Planning permission has already been granted to transform the building and it will provide capacity for dealing with first time adult passport applications as well.

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Home Office Minister Joan Ryan said: "We are currently one of only a few western nations that do not have a face-to-face element to the passport application process.

“We know that this leads to fraudulent applications and that is why things are going to change this year, starting with first-time adult customers.

"From 2009 countries in the EU and beyond will also be adding fingerprints to their passports. So will we. We will not allow the British passport to become a second-rate travel document, a natural target for criminals.

"These vital changes to passports and passport-issuing, which we must carry out if the security of the British passport is to be maintained, will also lay the foundations for the National Identity Scheme. By linking unique biometric data to a secure database with strict rules outlining its use, the scheme will give us all a means of confirming identity - for adult residents including foreign nationals as well as UK citizens.”

It is not clear when the centre will be open.

n.What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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