'No requirement' to show photo ID in pubs and restaurants despite Met police letter

21 October 2020, 08:57

Police on patrol in Soho in London
Police on patrol in Soho in London. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

Scotland Yard is being urged to withdraw "misleading and unlawful" advice that pubs ask for photographic identification to stop households mixing.

The Metropolitan Police sent a letter telling business licence holders that they should take steps to ensure groups were only from one household or part of a support bubble.

This could include asking for photographic identification with names and addresses, it added.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told Nick Ferrari on LBC today there was "no requirement" to show passport or ID in pubs or restaurants.

The letter, dated October 16, came the day before new Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions banning households from mixing indoors came into force in London.

It said: "Premises should take steps to satisfy themselves that the group (maximum six people) is only from one household or part of a support bubble.

"This could include requesting photographic identification with names and addresses.

"We ask that you support the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) and the local authority by being proactive in discouraging groups from gathering in the public realm outside of your premises."

But Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) said that following legal advice it was urging the Met to withdraw its "misleading and unlawful" advice.

He added: "The recent communication from the Met Police on October 16 we feel confuses an already confused situation.

"The conditions for trading are already extremely difficult and our entire sector have taken reasonable measures to ensure guidelines have been met and people are kept safe within their premises.

"Following legal advice we will be requesting that the Met withdraw their misleading and unlawful advice and issue a statement that reflects the correct current legal position.

"This is typical of erroneous advice and enforcement activity up and down the country."

But the force defended its letter and said its primary aim was to keep Londoners safe and ensure coronavirus restrictions were followed.

A Met spokesman added: "The main purpose of this communication has been to keep licensees informed of updates around Covid legislation, including recently the new measures that have come with the move to 'Tier 2' status in London.

"The local advice from one of the Met's licensing teams about this is just that - advice.

"It was well-intentioned and we hope that it is taken in that way.

"Our primary aim is to help keep all Londoners safe and ensure, through engagement and explanation, that the relevant Covid legislation is adhered to."