Police U turn: Scotland Yard withdraws guidance to pubs over asking for ID

22 October 2020, 09:06 | Updated: 22 October 2020, 09:12

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

LBC's Nick Ferrari questioned a Government Minister over the police telling publicans they should ask for photo ID from customers.

On Wednesday Scotland Yard was urged to withdraw “misleading and unlawful” advice that pubs ask for photographic identification to stop households mixing.

The Met force came under fire after telling publicans they must ensure groups are only from one household or part of a support bubble – including checking names and addresses.

Nick Ferrari asked Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick if he was aware Scotland Yard has been writing to restaurant and pub owners urging them to check photo ID.

"Do you support that?" Nick asked the Government Minister.

Responding that he hadn't seen the report Nick was referring to, Mr Jenrick said it was "right that we get enforcement and compliance correct in the country."

He said it would help stop other "infringements on our liberties."

"You support, effectively, a publican asking for my passport if I want a pint of lager?" Nick asked the Minister.

"Well it's difficult for me to comment, I haven't seen that," Mr Jenrick replied.

Nick was not happy with this answer, pointing out it was on the front page of the Daily Mail.

Brandishing a copy of the paper Nick asked the Housing Secretary why he had not been briefed on this story.

Responding Mr Jenrick said the Government was asking businesses to "do a proper contact tracing exercise" to ensure the Covid rules were being obeyed.

When Nick asked him if he supported the letter from the Met, Mr Jenrick said he had not seen or read the story and he was not going to criticise the Metropolitan Police.

Later in the day Scotland Yard bosses said they had withdraw the letter - saying "it does not reflect the force's policy."

In a statement, a Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: "Yes, we have withdrawn the letter."

"The force will be in contact with the recipients of the letter to clarify that the advice, although well-intentioned, does not reflect our policy."

The letter from Scotland Yard 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."

Emma McClarkin, of the British Beer & Pub Association, told the Daily Mail: "Expecting pubs to demand all customers produce photographic identification with names and addresses would be fundamentally inappropriate and completely unacceptable."