The UK’s national proof of age accreditation scheme, endorsed by the Home Office, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) formerly Association of Chief Police Officers – ACPO), the Security Industry Authority (SIA) and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (cTSI).
Every card that carries a PASS hologram will have been issued by a provider who has been through a stringent application and accreditation process which examines the procedures they adopt to check and verify identity.
Production of the card by a young person at the point of sale affords retailers and their staff the confidence of knowing that the card is a secure form of identification that can be trusted.
The unique PASS hologram is Trademark registered, making it a criminal offence to manufacture cards that have a mark similar to the PASS one.
Verification of age
The possession of a PASS accredited card demonstrates that your age and personal details have been verified by your card issuer and that you are who you say you are! It is also the only scheme that is backed by the Government and the enforcement authorities such as the Police and Trading Standards.
Access to products and services
By producing your PASS card you should be able to obtain the products and services that you are legally entitled to, without embarrassment, particularly if you are fortunate enough to look younger than you are!The benefit of carrying a PASS approved card also means that you don’t need to carry valuable documents such as your driving licence or passport.
Notwithstanding the guarantees that the PASS system offers, young people need to be aware that there is no automatic right of entry to licensed premises nor is there an automatic right to service of alcohol. Entry is always at the discretion of the licensee for whatever reason he or she decides.
Whilst the vast majority of retailers and pubcos support the PASS scheme and include reference to it in their company policies and procedures, it is important to understand that front line staff are encouraged to refuse admission and/or service if they are in any doubt whatsoever about a person’s age. Increasingly tough enforcement of legislation to prevent selling to under-18s means that there is very strong pressure on operators to refuse entry if they have any grounds to believe that a person is under 18, regardless of the form of ID they present.
PASS is working to reassure licensees and door supervisors of the reliability and benefits of PASS though this remains a challenge. The introduction of the 18+ Design Standard is a major step forward in these efforts.
There are a number of ‘urban myths’ that have grown up about PASS. We’d like to tackle them head on by stating the following facts:
1. PASS cards cannot be bought off the internet
Genuine PASS cards cannot be obtained over the internet. All applications must go through a rigorous process with our accredited Card Issuers. Whilst fake or ‘novelty’ ID can easily be purchased from a range of internet sites, often by sending cash abroad and sometimes in untraceable ‘bitcoin’ form, the PASS hologram is a registered trademark which makes its forgery a criminal offence. Although it is virtually impossible to police the trade in so-called novelty cards, such sites are monitored on a regular basis to look for fake PASS hologrammed cards. Any evidence of systematic or actual forgery of the PASS hologram is vigorously pursued by the PASS Board and the relevant authorities, including the National Crime Agency, with a view to prosecution.
2. All PASS card applications are thoroughly checked
The rigour of the application process as checked via Trading Standard Institute (TSI) audits means that the risk of cards being issued with false data is minimal. Applicants must provide proof of their age and identity and have their application and photographs countersigned by a suitable referee. PASS card schemes are required to carry out appropriate checks of data provided to ensure that, as far as possible, all data pertaining to age and identity of applicants are genuine and correct. Card Schemes will reject any applications where there is any doubt about the details supplied. Independent auditors, appointed by the Trading Standards Institute (TSI), carry out periodic audits on card schemes.
3. Now there is a common design standard it’s easy to recognise PASS cards
The key to recognising a PASS card is the unique PASS hologram. The presence of the hologram indicates that the card is issued by a genuine issuer and can be accepted with confidence. In addition, from June 2014, all cards issued to those aged 18 and over by the National Card Schemes and Local Card Issuers must conform to a common design standard covering the look of the face of the card. The only element that will vary will be the name and logo of the issuer in the top right hand quadrant of the card. Almost all PASS cards presented for the purpose of purchasing alcohol/tobacco are likely to be issued by one of the six national PASS card schemes.
4. PASS cards are the preferred form of Proof of Age
The Police, through the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the Home Office encourage retailers to accept PASS cards in preference to passports and driving licences as proof of age and offer reassurance that doing so is due diligence. The rigour of the PASS application process combined with the absence of evidence of forged cards bearing the PASS hologram makes PASS as reliable as passports and driving licences. Young people are rightly concerned about taking valuable documents such as passports with them on a night out, because of the inconvenience and expense to replace if lost or stolen. If they fall into the hands of criminals they can represent a real security risk.