Scottish Government Consultation on Proposals to Amend Proof of Age Regulations

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Background and Proposals for Change

16. There are a number of pieces of legislation in force in Scotland that make it an offence for persons under certain ages to be sold certain goods or services, and that a person who sells goods or services to a person under that age commits an offence.

17. However, where they have taken steps to establish the persons age they may have a defence. While the steps may vary from product to product, the one consistent is that the person selling the goods or service was shown a proof of age document which Scottish Ministers have listed as being acceptable.

18. At present, the documents which can be used as proof of age are:

  • a passport[1];
  • an EU photocard driving licence; and,
  • for alcohol a photographic identity card approved by the British Retail Consortium for the purposes of its Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASSCard);
  • for tobacco and sunbeds a photographic identity card bearing the national Proof of Age Standards Scheme hologram.

19. This consultation includes draft regulations amending the acceptable documents for the sale of alcohol, tobacco and the use, hire and sale of sunbeds to persons under 18 years of age.

20. In addition to these products and services, we are also proposing to make similar changes for the sale of solvent based products. We have not included draft regulations for solvents. However, we would expect them to be similar to those included at Annex C.

21. This consultation does not seek views on whether the age for purchasing (or use) of age restricted products should be varied.

Question 1: Are there other age restricted products which we should extend the list of acceptable proof of age documents for? If so, which other products?

22. The intention of the three sets of draft regulations is to extend the list of acceptable documents. The draft regulations for alcohol also amend the description of the PASSCard, to ensure that only those bearing the Scheme hologram can be accepted. This will bring alcohol in line with tobacco and sunbeds and make it harder to forge and provide further protection to those working in premises where age restricted products or services are sold.

23. The documents we propose adding to the list of acceptable document are:

  • a Ministry of Defence Form 90 (Defence Identity Card); and,
  • a national identity card issued by an EU member state, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.

24. Although not included in the draft Regulations attached, we also propose adding the Biometric Residents Permit (BRP) to the list of acceptable documents.

25. Annexes A and B provide specimen examples of the MOD and BRP cards.

Military Identity Cards

26. Prior to March 2011, Ministry of Defence Form 90 (MOD ID) was not allowed to be used by service personnel as proof of age. However, the United Kingdom Government announced on 14 March 2011 that they had changed the rules, and that MOD ID could be used by service personnel as proof of age.

27. Despite this, however, it still could not, and can not, be used in Scotland when alcohol or tobacco products were being purchased or sunbeds used, hired or purchased. This is because Scottish Ministers have set out the only forms of ID which can be used.

28. These draft regulations propose bringing Scotland into line with England & Wales, ensuring that service personnel are not at a disadvantage in Scotland when attempting to buy age restricted products.

Question 2: Do you agree that Military Identity Cards should be included in the list of acceptable proof of age documents?

National Identity Cards

29. Since April 2006, nationals of European Economic Area[2] states have not had to show their passport in order to gain entry to the United Kingdom. However, if they do not show their passport, they are required to show a valid national identity card issued by an EEA state.

30. This means that a large number of tourists will not have their passport with them while they are in the country. This could prevent them from purchasing age restricted products while on holiday in Scotland. In order to prevent this, we are proposing to add EEA issued national identity cards to the list of acceptable documents.

31. We are not proposing to add national identity cards of other countries, as it is only EEA nationals that can be admitted to the UK without a passport. A national of Canada, for example, will need to have their passport to enter the UK, and, therefore, will have easy access to it should they be asked to prove their age.

32. A full list of EEA Identity Documents can be viewed online at http://prado.consilium.europa.eu/EN/homeIndex.html.

Question 3: Do you agree that National Identity Cards issued by EEA states should be included in the list of acceptable proof of age documents?

Biometric Residents Permit (BRP)

33. BRPs are credit card sized immigration documents that contain a highly secure embedded chip and incorporate sophisticated security safeguards to combat tampering. They evidence the holder's immigration status in the UK.

34. BRPs are replacing older less secure UK immigration status documents which have been subject to fraud in the past, and over 600,000 have been issued by the UK Borders Agency since they were first rolled out in November 2008. Around 1 million BRPs will have been issued by the end of this year.

35. As they are easier to carry around and avoid migrants having to produce other less convenient documents such as passports we also propose to allow these documents to be used for proof of age.

36. Further information on the BRP can be found at http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/while-in-uk/do-i-need-brp/.

Question 4: Do you agree that the Biometric Residents Permit should also be included in the list of acceptable documents?

Question 5: Should we include further documents on the list of acceptable documents? If so, which other documents should be included?