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No fingerprints, no entry: Romford pubs introduce ‘Orwellian’ tactics to curb troublemakers

10:40 21 February 2014

Left to right: Vince Billings, Chris Clark and Mark Compton.

Left to right: Vince Billings, Chris Clark and Mark Compton.

Archant

Customers’ fingerprints are being taken and stored by pubs and clubs to verify ages and identities and keep track of potential troublemakers.

A total of eight Romford businesses are using a Clubscan machine to help curb alcohol-fuelled violence.

Customers need to provide ID and fingerprints before gaining late-night entry to bars.

Pub bosses say it will help to keep past troublemakers and those intent on violence at bay.

Wetherspoon’s pub the Moon and Stars, South Street, Romford began using a device last weekend.

Paul Gilligan, 59, from Woodfield Drive, Gidea Park, was refused entry after turning up last week after 8.30pm.

He had no ID and was unable to use the machine.

“It is a complete invasion of privacy,” he said. “It’s like Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, as they’re spying on us.”

A 42-year-old teacher, wishing to remain anonymous, said: “I expect to be able to go out anywhere in this country and have a drink in peace without being harassed about my personal information. This is so wrong.”

The businesses are supported by police, Havering Council, and the CCTV team of the Safe and Sound Community Group.

Inspector Neal Donohoe, from Romford town centre neighbourhood policing team, said: “I believe most of our night-time patrons would welcome a safer environment in the knowledge police and licensees are working together to ensure we limit the number of people entering our licensed premises who are involved in violence, theft and drugs.”

JD Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “The pub is well run and we are happy to work partly with the police on this initiative.”

But Nick Pickles, director of civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, said: “In reality this system has the potential to track people’s socialising irrespective of whether they cause problems or not.”

Cllr Geoff Starns, cabinet member for community safety, said: “We want people to enjoy coming to Romford. This means they need to feel safe in our town, so any system such as ID scanners introduced by businesses to improve security, people’s safety or combat under-age drinking is welcome.”

Kosho nightclub, South Street, Romford, was the first business in the area to introduce the system last year.

Manager Jose Martins said: “It’s been really helpful to us, cutting down crime in our club so I would recommend it.”

9 comments

  • As as I'm aware this article has a big mistake on it. The machine takes a copy of your ID, it does not take your fingerprints. Kosho have been using this a while now and it means if there is trouble they can look up everyone that was in the club and identify name and picture of troublemaker.

    Report this comment

    Stewart Mott

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • WONT BE LONG BEFORE THEY ALL GO OUT OF BUSINESS. WHO WANTS ALL THAT PALAVER WHEN THEY WANT TO GO OUT FOR THE NIGHT. FINGER PRINTS ARE FOR THE NICK NOT FOR A NIGHT OUT AT A CLUB OR PUB. STUPID IDEA. MAYBE THEY SHOULD HAVE DONE A SURVEY 1ST TO SEE WHAT PEOPLE THOUGHT BEFORE THEY THREW MONEY AWAY ON EXPENSIVE DAB MACHINES.

    Report this comment

    Carol Hatch

    Friday, February 21, 2014

  • Is it not Romford councils fault for all the violence in Romford for giving so many pubs & clubs an opening license! It's no wonder there's problems when there's so many pubs & clubs within such a short distance of each other & so close to a main line station that people from far away come to drink pubs own cheap drinks offers then start getting drunk & can't control themselves! Even the police just sit in the vans nearby on Friday & Saturdays just waiting for it to kick off!! As for finger printing.....invasion of our privacy!! The pubs will probably get many for selling your prints & private information off to 3rd party company's for who knows what!!! Think I'll just avoid the pubs in question or Romford all together & spend my money elsewhere

    Report this comment

    John Rose

    Friday, February 21, 2014

  • If Kosho started this system a year ago why are they not using it?? My daughter and her friends attend this club every week and they have never had their finger prints taken. You need to be consistent with a system to lower the amount if shrunken violence so youngsters can be safe. I think it's a good idea if you haven't done anything wrong and you don't go out to cause trouble then you won't have to worry I support anything that makes our children safer

    Report this comment

    Mandy

    Friday, February 21, 2014

  • As as I'm aware this article has a big mistake on it. The machine takes a copy of your ID, it does not take your fingerprints. Kosho have been using this a while now and it means if there is trouble they can look up everyone that was in the club and identify name and picture of troublemaker.

    Report this comment

    Stewart Mott

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

  • The article is implying that the ID gets scanned then finger print is taken to make sure the person with the ID is the correct person. As we know ID are used by other people so if the system was used correctly then this would definitely lower the amount of under aged children that get into the clubs and pubs. I know plenty that have and if the clubs and pubs done the full security checks with the scanner then followed by finger prints no one under aged would get in, then it would be worth while and cut a lot of youngsters getting in trouble because they are not old enough to buy alcohol and can't handle it when they do. I'm sure you will agree with the above no point paying for a system and only using half of it that don't help anyone does it!!

    Report this comment

    Mandy

    Saturday, February 22, 2014

  • FYI Mandy Kosho do use the system it's a shame the article on here is only highlighting the use of finger printing. That is just one of its functions. The main function used is the ID Scanning. Which Kosho definitely do as do all the other venues now using this system.

    Report this comment

    Ell Hills

    Friday, February 21, 2014

  • Just to let people know about this system. Me and three friends visited Worlds Inn on Saturday, they scanned my driving licence using this "automated" system. The machine identified my picture as me. Since the picture is outdated, this system didn't seem right me. So we asked the doorman if we could try my friends driving licence. Low and behold the machine also "identified" my friends driving licence as me? It did the same for the other two friends as well. So this machine is an utter scam to gain details from people in the name of safety.

    Report this comment

    Lee Dale

    Monday, February 24, 2014

  • "Is it not Romford councils fault for all the violence in Romford for giving so many pubs & clubs an opening license!" Quite, the system adresses the symptons without addressing the underlying problem. The Licensing Act 2003 contains provisions to review licenses, which can be restricted or withdarwn.

    Report this comment

    Bill Ellson

    Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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