back to article Post Office will snap and dab for ID card scheme

The Post Office will offer fingerprint and photograph-taking facilities for foreign nationals who need to enrol for an ID card. The Home Office has been looking for High Street partners without success for some time. But now the Post Office has apparently volunteered 17 offices to collect dabs on a trial basis. Tests start …


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  1. ElNumbre
    Big Brother


    Desperatly trying to roll it out before they're kicked out of government. Then if Cameroon cancels the ID card scheme, Labour can say that they've wasted x billion pounds on a 1/2 implemented system.

  2. Asgard
    Big Brother

    WTF!? ... Wow ... just wow!...

    Its amazing (almost surreal) to hear the Post Office will be finger printing people. Its like some kind of scifi dystopian version of what the UK was.

    Wow, less than 10 minutes ago, I was writing in another The Reg comment:

    "Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free" ...

    "Thine equal laws, by Freedom gained, Have ruled thee well and long"

    Now it really should be, "papers please."

  3. david bates

    I feel so much better....

    ...I mean, its not like the Post Office regularly lose mail, and car tax cheques, or that they once refused to accept a VAT notice as proof of business address when requested to redirect mail but were happy to accept two invoices from mythical companies still wet from the deskjet...

    What could possibly go wrong?

  4. Mike Richards Silver badge


    Went to the Post Office last week to send a parcel, took forever to get to the head of the queue and when I was being served the guy behind the desk was clearly following a script - did I want any holiday money? how about one of their low interest credit cards? did I need insurance on my home/car/life/cat? had I heard about their wide range of competitive savings schemes...? I guess 'do you want to have your eyeballs scanned?' is next.

    Goodness knows how long it will be served if this becomes commonplace, it'll be quicker to walk a letter to the Orkneys than post it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Don't these foreign nationals already have identity papers called "passports"? Why not just use them? Wouldn't that be cheaper and less wasteful in a time when there's more need than ever for waste to be cut?

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    So what does that add to the bill?

    Note this is a vote winning tactic as well.

    "See, although drove benefit claimants to open bank accounts so they don't need to visit the PO and collect that nasty old cash we are giving them back something."

    I seem to recal the original plan was to use 70 in house IPS centres around the country to handle this work then someone realised how big a hammering each one would take to meet their target.

    66million people @ £8 each? That's £528 million. Has that been included on the bill?

  7. Irp

    Get An ID Card. Save The Post Office

    Well this is a novel way to get us to buy into the ID card scheme! Support your (not so) local post office!

    Will Someone Please Think Of The Post Office!

  8. Nomen Publicus

    Bribery and corruption?

    So, what's the minimum amount required to convince some poor underpaid member of the PO counter staff that my friend Mohamed needs a card but the fingerprints should be taken from his friend Ahmed who is leaving the country tomorrow?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Everyone break from the UK

    we can form a new country, I don't know call it Briton, leave the UK to the UKatians. Just don't let the unproductive members of the UK join Briton, so that will be the entire civil service, and government, we can give them a little island and some rations, seeds and id kits that should keep them happy.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother


    Yes indeed - up to this year a foreign national gaining legal residence in the UK would indeed get a stamp in their passport, but because

    a) the Home Office nomenklatura is so desparate to make it look like the ID card project is making progress (to make it harder for the Tories to cancel when they get in) and

    b) the politicians want to pander to the Daily Hate and its readers by "being tough on immigration",

    they decided to make the residence permit a separate document and call it an ID Card, even though it isn't, as yet, part of the Orwellian nightmare National Identity Register database because, er they haven't built that yet.

    Actually, I think it's a dis-service to Eric Blair to call this "Orwellian" as the Thought Police in his book were a good deal better-organised and efficient than the shower currently masquerading as a government we have. I think "Gilliamian" would be a better adjective as it seems like it's his film "Brazil" that they're really trying to emulate.

    "Hi, there. I want to talk to you about ducts."

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Papiere Bitte" .... surely?

    Presumably followed ultimately - if Brown & Co stay in charge of Airstrip One - by "Arbeit Mach Frei"?

    But I'm just biased, having recently discovered my so-called disabled bus pass is in fact a back-door identity card...

  12. Asgard
    Big Brother

    @Get An ID Card. Save The Post Office

    So that makes it kill off ID Cards = Help to kill Post Office ... Then Tories get seen as evil which is what NuLabour want. This is a political chess move from NuLabour which shows the depth of their Machiavellian attitude. They don't care about the post office, their jobs are just pawns in NuLabours chess game (like all of us are).

    As for "already have identity papers called "passports"" ... Thats a good point because it shows this isn't about passport style documents, its about increasing control over us all in every way they can. (Because the people in power personally gain from having such increasing power ... So find a way to earn the government more money with a new government department idea and you then get a very well paid job running that big new department ... they just have to convince us we need ever more departments ... well they did, now they just take whatever money they want to create ever more control over us all ... then they start punishing people for protesting against them, at first in quite ways like ever more fines and bans).

  13. pAnoNymous
    Thumb Down

    it's only foreigners so who cares?

    they came for the paedophiles but it had nothing to do with me so I kept my head down.

    they came for the muslim extremists but it had nothing to do with me so I kept my head down.

    they came for the yobs/asbos but it had nothing to do with me so I kept my head down.

    they came for the foreigners but it had nothing to do with me so I kept my head down.

    they came for the airport workers but it had nothing to do with me so I kept my head down.

    they came for the...

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Time to boycott your local Post Office then.

    That they're "only following orders" doesn't really wash.

    Britain is going down the pan aided and abetted by people willing to help make Orwell's nightmares become reality. Gordon Brown's scorched earth policy only shows how cynical our "masters" are.

  15. The Dorset Rambler
    Paris Hilton

    I'll bet you a pound..

    That they'll introduce some form of proportional pricing.

    Thank you sir, if you'll just try and put your fingers through this slot....

    Ok, stubby, that will be fifteen pounds 85.....

    Paris, what else?

  16. Gilbert Wham

    I'm surprised...

    ...they haven't posited using bloody Tesco's.

  17. Spleen

    What a bloody surprise

    Their current ad campaign tries so hard to recreate the atmosphere of Stalin-era propaganda posters, it may as well carry the slogan "In Soviet Britain, The People's Post Office Stamps On You!" So, for that matter, does their service (unless you're lucky enough to still have a rural post office run by people who know you, which you aren't, because they've closed them all down). Compulsory fingerprinting? Who cares? You should be pleasantly surprised if you leave without having a postal sack thrown over your head and being stuffed in a cattle truck to be taken to a New Deal labour camp, comrade.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Re: What a bloody surprise

    Talking of those "People's Post Office" propaganda films - I mean, ads on TV, it struck me at the time that they were very much like Soviet propaganda films. While they were boasting about local post offices, about being the "People's Post Office", real, local post offices were being closed down, or at least heading that way, as you say. It reminded me of those Soviet propaganda films about bountiful harvests when actually many, many people were dying of starvation due to famine.

    In Orwell's 1984, there's a nice bit about boots:-

    "But actually, he thought as he re-adjusted the Ministry of Plenty's figures, it was not even forgery. It was merely the substitution of one piece of nonsense for another. Most of the material that you were dealing with had no connexion with anything in the real world, not even the kind of connexion that is contained in a direct lie. Statistics were just as much a fantasy in their original version as in their rectified version. A great deal of the time you were expected to make them up out of your head. For example, the Ministry of Plenty's forecast had estimated the output of boots for the quarter at one-hundred-and-forty-five million pairs. The actual output was given as sixty-two millions. Winston, however, in rewriting the forecast, marked the figure down to fifty-seven millions, so as to allow for the usual claim that the quota had been overfulfilled. In any case, sixty-two millions was no nearer the truth than fifty-seven millions, or than one-hundred-and-forty-five millions. Very likely no boots had been produced at all. Likelier still, nobody knew how many had been produced, much less cared. All one knew was that every quarter astronomical numbers of boots were produced on paper, while perhaps half the population of Oceania went barefoot. And so it was with every class of recorded fact, great or small. Everything faded away into a shadow-world in which, finally, even the date of the year had become uncertain."

    I love the phrase, "astronomical numbers of boots".

  19. mmiied

    17 directley owned post offices

    I did not know they had that meny left?

  20. Ponmyword

    Dingos' Kidneys

    If nulabour get back in after the next general election (assuming they hold one), it will only be a matter of time before the post office opens up an execution and organ harvesting facility, like they have in China.

  21. shaunm
    Paris Hilton

    a day at the local post office..

    That's £2.40 for the paper, drink and pack rolos sir. O and would you like to sell your soul while your here?

    Paris well because...

  22. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    @Gilbert Wham

    "...they haven't posited using bloody Tesco's."

    They did. Perhaps hoping they would implement a 6 cards or less to be processed queue.

    At one time Boots was thought (by the IPS) to be a front runner for this. Increasing the amount of trade, good reputation of the brand. Everyone's a winner. Boots did not seem to see it that way.

  23. ShaggyDoggy


    £8 for foreign nationals

    £60 for UK citizens

    yep, sounds about right ........

  24. rpjs

    @Gilbert Wham

    "I'm surprised they haven't posited using bloody Tesco's"

    I think Tescos have the commercial nous not to touch this with the proverbial 10 ft bargepool.

  25. John Stirling

    post offices

    I thought the one's under threat were the little local ones serving a community.

    Just as a thought - I'd like to know the correlation between post offices serving as IPS centres (or which have the potential to so do) and those which fail to make a profit, and are thus under threat.

    Would the correlation be -1 by any chance?

    i.e. no overlap whatsoever.

    In which case this saves post offices how.

    Filthy, lying, low-life, manipulative bastards.

  26. Anonymous Coward


    Actually, it's £820 + £8 for the foreign nationals, or £1020 if you do it in person.

    To process the application, their current target is "95% within 6 months"

    In the meantime, you may not get a job, change jobs, move house, get married, get divorced, leave the country, go to Northern Ireland or do anything at all.

    They also require your Passport *and* 'ID Card' while the stuff is being processed, giving you a single three or four page letter that supposedly 'proves' to your current employer that you're still allowed to stay in your job.

    Said employer is then pretty nervous, given the possibility of an up to £10,000 fine for not reading it properly. So they're quite likely to fire you.

    On top of that, they require your partner's Passport while they do it - and they then have absolutely nothing to 'prove' that they are allowed to stay in their job. In fact, if they don't drive they're left with no forms of photo ID whatsoever - a fact which universal 'ID cards' wouldn't change, because they'd have been asked to send it in as well (see above).

    Getting married has so far cost us just shy of £3000, purely for the Home Office paperwork.

    It rather trashed the day itself - no budget left.

    (Anon because the Home Office hold my life in their hands right now.)

  27. Eden
    Thumb Up


    I saw Brazil a couple of nights ago and I agree, far more like Brazil than Orwell's nightmare vision.

  28. Alastair McFarlane


    Because *she* spent a day at the local post office with a pack of rolos?

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Hair Bear Bunch.

    "The Home Office has been looking for High Street partners without success for some time. But now the Post Office has apparently volunteered 17 offices to collect dabs on a trial basis."

    Aw, poor old stupid Post Office. When the Sergeant said "Everyone who'd like to volunteer, please take one step forward" they didn't hear the tittering behind them as everyone else took a step backward leaving them stuck out front like a spare prick ...

    It won't rescue them though. The only thing that could possibly rescue the PO is customer service and they're so old, decrepit and entrenched they've forgotten what customers are, let alone what serving a customer consists of.

    As for the ID card scheme - if Alan Johnson's so desperate he's had to rope the Post Office into it then things can't be going well at all.

  30. NO2IDPG

    What do they mean by foreign national?

    What do they mean by foreign national in relation to the ID card Scheme?

    Is a foreign national an EU member or a Non-EU national?

    Many thanks for your reply.

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