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Sheffield Children Safeguarding Partnership

False ID

Information for young people and parents/carers about the consequences and risks when using false identification

One of the ways that young people try to buy alcohol or get into adult venues is to use false identification, but using false ID can have serious consequences in terms of the law and can put you at risk of harm.

In Sheffield, the Children Safeguarding Partnership works with other agencies including young people’s substance misuse services, the police and local licensees to safeguard young people and raise their awareness of the risks and consequences of using false ID.  For example, security and sales staff at licensed premises are trained to look out for young people using false ID and to report it to the police.

What type of documents are classed as false ID?

There are five types of false document:

  1. a genuine document that is being used by someone else (for example borrowed or taken from friends or family);
  2. a genuine document which has been altered (photo or if the date of birth is changed)
  3. a genuine document which has been fraudulently obtained (for example, using someone else's details to get a student card or other form of photo ID)
  4. a fake document which is a copy of a genuine document (for example, fake driving licence purchased over the internet)
  5. a fake document (i.e. someone has created a completely false document).

What happens if you are reported for using false ID?

If you are caught knowingly misusing false ID, the ID will be seized and be reported to the police.  You will be given a receipt slip (‘bailment form’) by the staff at the premises who seized the ID. 

You will then need to fill in a form to provide the police with further information about yourself, the ID and the circumstances in which you used it.  click here to download the police enquiry form

The police will make a decision about whether there will be a prosecution and consider repeat offences along with the circumstances you disclose. They will also decide how the ID will be processed (for example a driving licence may be returned to the DVLA , a passport to the Home Office, or if the ID belongs to someone else, the police may decide to notify them).

You will be contacted by the police who will explain what action they have decided to take. You may also be asked to read the information about the risks and consequences of using false ID on this web page. 

What are the legal consequences of using false ID?

It is an offence to use fake ID under the following legislation:

  • Identity Cards Act 2010Section 6 (1)
  • Forgery and Counterfeiting Act 1981 – use of counterfeit ID
  • Fraud Act 2006 – Possession of Counterfeit ID

Depending on how you obtain false ID, a number of offences may have been committed.  For example, if you buy ID off someone, or if someone lends it to you, have you thought about where it may have come from?  Some types of false ID have already been reported to the police as missing due to crime (for example they may have been stolen from other people and sold on).  Potentially you could be arrested and questioned in relation to other offences such as;

  • Theft
  • Theft by finding
  • Robbery
  • Burglary
  • Handling stolen goods

So it is important to consider that using false ID could result in you being fined, cautioned or arrested by the police. 

Having a criminal record for these or other offences could have a long-term effect. Two of the main areas to consider are:

  1. Employment. When unemployment is rising there will be a wider choice of people available for jobs. Jobs that have special responsibilities involving vulnerable people or data handling will probably require a DBS check. This is when     the company will check your details against the files held on the Disclosure and Barring Service’s records. (Would you employ anyone that had an offence of fraud, theft or forgery against them?)
  2. Holidays/ Emigration. Some countries will now do a DBS check on you before you enter their country. If you flag up as having a notifiable offence your immigration application will be reviewed and could be stopped. If you are going there on holiday you could be stopped at passport control and refused entry to the country. (Would you allow someone into your country with an offence of identity fraud?)

The law is there to protect young people.
There can be personal risk at adult venues
or when drinking alcohol/taking substances.

 What are the personal risks?

When young people go to ‘Over 18’ venues they may be exposed to adults who behave irresponsibly (for example being drunk or offensive) or dangerously (if they have drugs, carry weapons or become violent).

If you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs/ psychoactive substances you might make unsafe choices that put you at risk of harm (for example, having unwanted/unprotected sex, getting involved in anti-social behaviour, or be around strangers who put you at risk). Not everyone goes out to have a good time - if your judgement is impaired, you can’t keep yourself safe and criminals may see you as a ‘soft target’; you could have your drink spiked, or be a victim of robbery, grooming or exploitation. ID checks are there to safeguard young people.

If you have lost your ID or have had it seized;

If you need help or would like to talk someone in confidence about alcohol/substance misuse;

  • please contact The Corner (young people’s substance misuse service)
  • (0114) 275 2051
  • sheffield@cri.org.uk


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Licensing Act 2003