Thumbs up for new cards?

IPSWICH night clubbers will be the first in the UK to use thumbprint ID cards if state-of-the-art plans get the go-ahead.As well as curbing late-night troublemakers, backers say the "Ipswich cards" will promote pride among youngsters for their hometown.

IPSWICH night clubbers will be the first in the UK to use thumbprint ID cards if state-of-the-art plans get the go-ahead.

As well as curbing late-night troublemakers, backers say the "Ipswich cards" will promote pride among youngsters for their hometown.

The move is one of a number of recent initiatives to deal with teen crime.

This week sees a police scheme aimed at curbing antisocial behaviour go countywide.


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The new Youth Nuisance Register, piloted in Ipswich, lists youngsters caught behaving badly.

Officers then send a letter to parents which, if the antisocial behaviour persists, is followed up with another letter and a possible visit.

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Speaking about the register scheme, Chief Inspector Mark Cordell, of Suffolk's Community Safety Unit said: "We are making parents aware of their children's behaviour and with our colleagues in other agencies are offering support and advice to all of them at a very early stage to avoid the escalation of their behaviour to do all we can to stop them entering the criminal justice system."

In the Ipswich pilot, 90% of youngsters did not reoffend after their parents were told of their bad behaviour, he added.

The introduction of the "Ipswich card" meanwhile could make passports and driving licences as proof of ID in clubs a thing of the past.

The thumb cards will be linked to computer software and a central database. They will be easier to carry and impossible to forge.

The thumbprint bar code would let bouncers know the name and age of the card's owner.

If the scheme evolved, and if the law allowed it, other information such as police convictions could also go on show.

Mike Kill, the manager of the 1,000 capacity nightclub Liquid said: "The card would be easier to carry about and less dangerous to have on you than a passport."

Mr Kill, who heads Clubwatch an umbrella group for Ipswich clubs including Brannigans and Chicagos, went on: "We are still in the very early planning stages of this and still collating data and looking at how much the software would cost. Ipswich is a good town. We are working with the police and council to come up with best practice solutions for the security of our clubs. We want the age profile of the club to be 100% secure and this may be the best way to do that."

The new card is backed by John Stebbings of the Ipswich Partnership. He said: "The current problem is that without the national ID card there is no acceptable proof of identity. Magistrates don't like youngsters taking their passports out. So what ID do you carry? The idea of something supported locally and which might encourage a pride in Ipswich, we would support."

* Night buses are to run from Cardinal Park around Ipswich from until 4am from August 23. The move, aimed at dispelling lengthy and often violent taxi queues, follows a successful Christmas pilot.

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