Revellers must have ID scan to enjoy a drink at city bar

Thirst manager Yas Hunter scans his own driving licence at the bar. Picture: OX66146 Antony Moore

Thirst manager Yas Hunter scans his own driving licence at the bar. Picture: OX66146 Antony Moore

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Crime Reporter, also covering Barton and Wood Farm. Call me on (01865) 425427

DRINKERS are having their ID documents scanned in at an Oxford bar, under a scheme police want to see rolled out across the county.

A scanner has been installed at the door of Thirst Bar in Oxford in a bid to keep criminals and underage drinkers out.

When entering the Park End Street venue, revellers are now asked to scan in identification, such as driving licences and passports. Their name, age, address and photograph are then stored.

Privacy campaigners say the move is excessive but the bar’s owner Rob Opher said customers now felt safer and had not been put off.

He said: “If you are a law-abiding citizen why would you be worried?”

The Idscan Biometrics Ltd computer can authenticate more than 3,000 types of documentation and allows bar owners to see statistics about the type of people visiting.

Mr Opher said most drinkers would be asked to scan their IDs, but who came in was up to management. He said thousands of people had their details taken since the machine was installed but only two requested they were deleted at the end of the night, which he was happy to do.

The bar owner also said the information would usually be kept for no more than six months but could be held for up to three years.

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He said the bar would offer drinkers the option to have their fingerprints taken along with their ID details so they would not need to bring it the next time.

The equipment was likely to cost more than £5,000, said Mr Opher, but he was paying £50 every week to hire it for the next three years.

Bar general manager Yas Hunter said: “When you have a lot of girls who come to your venue it is important to create a very safe environment.”

Insp Andy Thompson, city centre neighbourhood police inspector, said he hoped other bars and clubs would install similar machines.

He said in the month after it was installed, on February 21, there were three crimes recorded at the bar (two phone thefts and a public order crime) – compared to the 21 in the period last year.

He said: “This is something that will mean people have a safer, more enjoyable night out in Oxford.”

But Nick Pickles, director of campaign group Big Brother Watch, said it was a step too far.

He said: “If you are checking if someone is barred, you don’t need to store their name, address and photo for three years. This treats everyone as a suspect and it is quite clearly excessive.”

Comments (9)

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8:38am Tue 25 Mar 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

Works just fine until a pub goes into administration - then you never know who is going to buy the assets of the business - which would include the raw data.
Works just fine until a pub goes into administration - then you never know who is going to buy the assets of the business - which would include the raw data. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 8

8:58am Tue 25 Mar 14

thomashenry says...

“If you are a law-abiding citizen why would you be worried?”. Classic.
“If you are a law-abiding citizen why would you be worried?”. Classic. thomashenry
  • Score: 5

9:04am Tue 25 Mar 14

angelox99 says...

What can you use if you do not have such id, as a driving licence or passport?? or even a prove your age id card??

Does this mean you will automatically be refused entry??
What can you use if you do not have such id, as a driving licence or passport?? or even a prove your age id card?? Does this mean you will automatically be refused entry?? angelox99
  • Score: 4

12:58pm Tue 25 Mar 14

robbo81 says...

angelox99 wrote:
What can you use if you do not have such id, as a driving licence or passport?? or even a prove your age id card??

Does this mean you will automatically be refused entry??
yes. but that's no different to a bouncer on the door or barstaff. If they suspect you are trouble or underage they will request ID. You should always have valid ID available upon request.

Andrew - true to a degree but I'd assume that the company behind this has the data, not the bar. As it'll be stored on their system. I'd guess to have a license for this they will have signed up to the data protection act. I'm sure a copy could be requested from the management. And as the owner states in the article he is happy to delete the data.

I think it's a good idea. If you are law abiding what do you have to fear? Let's face it, it's just as easy for a skilled hacker to steal your data from many sources. There are pretty open places to obtain data to, like registered company databases, credit checking systems, straight out of your letterbox, bins etc.

If they'd had this at Plush Lounge the poor girl who was attacked would've probably identified her attacker by now. Leading police directly to their address.

The obsession with big brother watching you is weird. Of course big brother is. You have birth certificates, passports, NI numbers, bank accounts, phone records etc. If they want to know something, they will. They won't be ringing up Thirst Bar!
[quote][p][bold]angelox99[/bold] wrote: What can you use if you do not have such id, as a driving licence or passport?? or even a prove your age id card?? Does this mean you will automatically be refused entry??[/p][/quote]yes. but that's no different to a bouncer on the door or barstaff. If they suspect you are trouble or underage they will request ID. You should always have valid ID available upon request. Andrew - true to a degree but I'd assume that the company behind this has the data, not the bar. As it'll be stored on their system. I'd guess to have a license for this they will have signed up to the data protection act. I'm sure a copy could be requested from the management. And as the owner states in the article he is happy to delete the data. I think it's a good idea. If you are law abiding what do you have to fear? Let's face it, it's just as easy for a skilled hacker to steal your data from many sources. There are pretty open places to obtain data to, like registered company databases, credit checking systems, straight out of your letterbox, bins etc. If they'd had this at Plush Lounge the poor girl who was attacked would've probably identified her attacker by now. Leading police directly to their address. The obsession with big brother watching you is weird. Of course big brother is. You have birth certificates, passports, NI numbers, bank accounts, phone records etc. If they want to know something, they will. They won't be ringing up Thirst Bar! robbo81
  • Score: -1

2:27pm Tue 25 Mar 14

angelox99 says...

With respect, I am well above the age to be able to attend such venues.

It does not exactly state as far as I can see that these systems will be linked directly to a police check system to see if you hold a criminal record, and even if it did, how would the management determine if you were to be a trouble maker or not!

I mean yes someone with a history of drug dealing might get refused entry, but what about someone with a record of burglary or fraud - these kind of people are hardly a threat to the public!

I agree it would be easier to trace a troublesome offender should a crime be committed such as that of the Plush lounge.

What's next!! DNA swabs, bloods, photographs....

I can see what they are trying to do, but I do not own any official forms of identification - sadly birth certificates, NI numbers, Bank cards, etc are not proof of ID officially in such establishments.
With respect, I am well above the age to be able to attend such venues. It does not exactly state as far as I can see that these systems will be linked directly to a police check system to see if you hold a criminal record, and even if it did, how would the management determine if you were to be a trouble maker or not! I mean yes someone with a history of drug dealing might get refused entry, but what about someone with a record of burglary or fraud - these kind of people are hardly a threat to the public! I agree it would be easier to trace a troublesome offender should a crime be committed such as that of the Plush lounge. What's next!! DNA swabs, bloods, photographs.... I can see what they are trying to do, but I do not own any official forms of identification - sadly birth certificates, NI numbers, Bank cards, etc are not proof of ID officially in such establishments. angelox99
  • Score: 2

5:28pm Tue 25 Mar 14

robbo81 says...

angelox99 wrote:
With respect, I am well above the age to be able to attend such venues.

It does not exactly state as far as I can see that these systems will be linked directly to a police check system to see if you hold a criminal record, and even if it did, how would the management determine if you were to be a trouble maker or not!

I mean yes someone with a history of drug dealing might get refused entry, but what about someone with a record of burglary or fraud - these kind of people are hardly a threat to the public!

I agree it would be easier to trace a troublesome offender should a crime be committed such as that of the Plush lounge.

What's next!! DNA swabs, bloods, photographs....

I can see what they are trying to do, but I do not own any official forms of identification - sadly birth certificates, NI numbers, Bank cards, etc are not proof of ID officially in such establishments.
I wasn't being disrespectful. Just saying that if a bouncer or barman doesn't like the look of you or you don't appear over 21 or 25 (whichever policy they employ) they have the right to refuse service or entry and request photo ID.

Im guessing here but perhaps other bars that use this system share info of trouble makers, they use a scan of ID to ensure it's logged against somebody. It may not even search a police database - to be honest i doubt it does at all as that's a heavily protected system. So it's about building their own database, as with anything it'll be down to adoption. More have got to use it to make it successful.

It's as much about prevention though. if you know the staff know who you are and where you live, the chances of you being tracked down if you do cause trouble are much higher. So it's a deterrent. I like the idea. Oxford seems to be plagued with trouble. At least they're looking at innovation and technology to solve a problem, rather than assume that the police will sort it all out.
[quote][p][bold]angelox99[/bold] wrote: With respect, I am well above the age to be able to attend such venues. It does not exactly state as far as I can see that these systems will be linked directly to a police check system to see if you hold a criminal record, and even if it did, how would the management determine if you were to be a trouble maker or not! I mean yes someone with a history of drug dealing might get refused entry, but what about someone with a record of burglary or fraud - these kind of people are hardly a threat to the public! I agree it would be easier to trace a troublesome offender should a crime be committed such as that of the Plush lounge. What's next!! DNA swabs, bloods, photographs.... I can see what they are trying to do, but I do not own any official forms of identification - sadly birth certificates, NI numbers, Bank cards, etc are not proof of ID officially in such establishments.[/p][/quote]I wasn't being disrespectful. Just saying that if a bouncer or barman doesn't like the look of you or you don't appear over 21 or 25 (whichever policy they employ) they have the right to refuse service or entry and request photo ID. Im guessing here but perhaps other bars that use this system share info of trouble makers, they use a scan of ID to ensure it's logged against somebody. It may not even search a police database - to be honest i doubt it does at all as that's a heavily protected system. So it's about building their own database, as with anything it'll be down to adoption. More have got to use it to make it successful. It's as much about prevention though. if you know the staff know who you are and where you live, the chances of you being tracked down if you do cause trouble are much higher. So it's a deterrent. I like the idea. Oxford seems to be plagued with trouble. At least they're looking at innovation and technology to solve a problem, rather than assume that the police will sort it all out. robbo81
  • Score: -1

7:41am Wed 26 Mar 14

oxfordgirl1974 says...

I am so fed up of this. When are companies going to realise that not everybody has a passport or driving licence? I don't drive and I've never been abroad and when I have to show ID for anything (whether it's online or in physical form), it's a nightmare. I'm 39 years old, so not likely to be affected by needing it to prove my age in a pub, but even so, it's irritating.
I am so fed up of this. When are companies going to realise that not everybody has a passport or driving licence? I don't drive and I've never been abroad and when I have to show ID for anything (whether it's online or in physical form), it's a nightmare. I'm 39 years old, so not likely to be affected by needing it to prove my age in a pub, but even so, it's irritating. oxfordgirl1974
  • Score: 5

8:17am Wed 26 Mar 14

angelox99 says...

oxfordgirl1974 wrote:
I am so fed up of this. When are companies going to realise that not everybody has a passport or driving licence? I don't drive and I've never been abroad and when I have to show ID for anything (whether it's online or in physical form), it's a nightmare. I'm 39 years old, so not likely to be affected by needing it to prove my age in a pub, but even so, it's irritating.
I have the same issue. I do not have a current photographic licence for driving, and my passport expired many years ago - and I am 35.

Yet so when I have to provide accepted ID for anything, like yourself, it is a nightmare - cannot prove that I am who I say I am, and not even my age.

Looks like if you do not have any photographic ID soon, our social lives will be over! Never mind, cheaper anyway to stay in with a couple of bottles of wine hehe
[quote][p][bold]oxfordgirl1974[/bold] wrote: I am so fed up of this. When are companies going to realise that not everybody has a passport or driving licence? I don't drive and I've never been abroad and when I have to show ID for anything (whether it's online or in physical form), it's a nightmare. I'm 39 years old, so not likely to be affected by needing it to prove my age in a pub, but even so, it's irritating.[/p][/quote]I have the same issue. I do not have a current photographic licence for driving, and my passport expired many years ago - and I am 35. Yet so when I have to provide accepted ID for anything, like yourself, it is a nightmare - cannot prove that I am who I say I am, and not even my age. Looks like if you do not have any photographic ID soon, our social lives will be over! Never mind, cheaper anyway to stay in with a couple of bottles of wine hehe angelox99
  • Score: 2

9:56am Wed 26 Mar 14

Rob046 says...

If we can reduce thefts and enchance the safety of our customers it makes good business sense.

If you are lucky enough to look fresh faced and young!, yes we won't allow you entry, if your are unable to prove you are over 18.
We need to protect our premises licence, that allows us to serve alcohol.

We are more likely to let you in!, because you know, we know who you are using your ID.
We find the majority of people who are under 25 who go out into town know they will be asked for ID in the bars and clubs of Oxford.
The benefit with thirst bar, will be once you've scanned your finger print, you can leave your valuable passport at home.

Both IDScan and Thirst bar have your data. They run the software system.
We are registered with the ICO.
www.ico.org.uk

All the information IDscan scan's, is in the public domain if you know where to look.

It is not linked directly to the polices data base.

Thirst bar has the discretion to allow entry without Proof of age to those people who clearly look older than 18.

If we were to cease trading, we would delete all the history from the database.

For thirst bar, we hope the benefits of reducing theft and making the venue an even safer place, will on balance be worth the introduction of IDScan.
Rob@thirstbar.com
If we can reduce thefts and enchance the safety of our customers it makes good business sense. If you are lucky enough to look fresh faced and young!, yes we won't allow you entry, if your are unable to prove you are over 18. We need to protect our premises licence, that allows us to serve alcohol. We are more likely to let you in!, because you know, we know who you are using your ID. We find the majority of people who are under 25 who go out into town know they will be asked for ID in the bars and clubs of Oxford. The benefit with thirst bar, will be once you've scanned your finger print, you can leave your valuable passport at home. Both IDScan and Thirst bar have your data. They run the software system. We are registered with the ICO. www.ico.org.uk All the information IDscan scan's, is in the public domain if you know where to look. It is not linked directly to the polices data base. Thirst bar has the discretion to allow entry without Proof of age to those people who clearly look older than 18. If we were to cease trading, we would delete all the history from the database. For thirst bar, we hope the benefits of reducing theft and making the venue an even safer place, will on balance be worth the introduction of IDScan. Rob@thirstbar.com Rob046
  • Score: -2

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