ID scanning technology cuts crime in town centre

Hertfordshire Constabulary has seen thefts in a town centre’s bars and nightclubs fall after a new ID scanning system was introduced. ScanNet ID technology, which has been installed in the entrances of eight bars and clubs in Watford, works by scanning the customer’s identification and alerts the door staff if the ID is fake or has been tampered with.

Mar 14, 2013
By Paul Jacques

Hertfordshire Constabulary has seen thefts in a town centre’s bars and nightclubs fall after a new ID scanning system was introduced. ScanNet ID technology, which has been installed in the entrances of eight bars and clubs in Watford, works by scanning the customer’s identification and alerts the door staff if the ID is fake or has been tampered with.

The technology also allows police and venues to share data about problem individuals and to impose bans across every venue, not just in Watford but in all venues nationally that use this equipment.

Anyone who is found to be violent, aggressive or commits crime, including assaults and thefts, in the town centre on a night out will be banned from all of the venues for a minimum of six months depending on the severity of the crime committed.

The constabulary hopes that the technology will lead to a reduction in alcohol-related crime and disorder, as well as the effective tackling of thefts of items such as mobile phones, handbags and wallets inside bars and clubs.

Chief Inspector Nick Caveney said: “We have been working very closely with the licensees in the town centre to provide a safer environment for visitors and welcome the investment they have made in installing this technology. The instant effect on crime is remarkable. Thefts have reduced by almost five per cent and we are hopeful it will also address the issues of violence and disorder in the longer-term.

“This technology unifies the venues in the town centre, allowing responsible people who want to enjoy what Watford has to offer to do so in an even safer environment. And for those who do not drink responsibly and commit crime, they will face an appropriate ban.”

Police and crime commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd added: “This system has clear benefits to Watford’s thriving night-time economy and this is a great example of my plan to ensure that businesses which contribute to an increased risk of crime and require additional resourcing, recognise the part they play in tackling crime in a way that does not leave the burden on Hertfordshire’s individual tax payers.

“By making an investment in this technology, local businesses in Watford have demonstrated their shared commitment to tackling alcohol-related offences. I look forward to seeing the benefits unfold in the coming months and see how our other town and city centres can be helped in the same way.”

ScanNet can read 3,000-plus ID documents, including visas, passports, driving licences and ID cards, and as well as detecting fake IDs, can calculate and display the customer’s age and log nightly business activity.

Last year, Watford was awarded Purple Flag status, an accreditation scheme that recognises excellence in the management of town and city centres at night. The national award highlighted the partnership approach of key organisations in the town, including the police, Watford Borough Council and the drinking establishments, in raising standards and improving the quality of the town to visitors at night.

Pub Watch vice-chair Alex O’Reilly, general manger of the Oceana in Watford, said: “It is in all our interests to ensure that Watford town centre offers a fun, safe and welcoming night out for people of all ages. The Pub Watch scheme and the police are building even stronger ties as we look to enforce a zero tolerance attitude to anti-social behaviour.

“The ScanNet ID is just one of our initiatives for 2013 and we will soon be announcing plans to combat the growing issue of pre-loading and drinking alcohol on the streets, which is seen as one of the major causes of street crime.”

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