False identification use on the rise, say police

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 12:00 27/02/2014

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Police are cracking down on alcohol offences as young people hit the town purporting to be older than they are.

In the past two weeks, there has been a spike in the use of false identification, with seven infringement notices issued in Palmerston North.

The notices carry a $250 fine.

Inspector Brett Calkin said while the use of fake IDs wasn't anything new, there had been a recent spike in the amount discovered.

The culprits are most commonly young women, using someone else's identification, rather than a manufactured false identification card.

"We're having a real crackdown on it."

An increase in the use of false ID started a few months ago, but police suspected it would continue to increase as students returned to the city.

False identification used varied in quality, and was often picked up by door security, who confiscated it and passed it on to police.

While the use of stolen, borrowed or found identification was most common, other types included falsified and amended ID cards, typically where the year of birth was altered or smudged in some way.

The fines for false identifications are among 48 alcohol-related fines handed out by Palmerston North police in the past two weeks, which includes breaches of the liquor ban, and underage possession of alcohol.

Of those, about 15 were warnings, where the infringement notice was given but people were not compelled to pay a fine.

The names of those people are recorded so they would not get a warning if they offended again.

Mr Calkin said they had handed out warnings in the knowledge that there were new students in town who were away from home for the first time.

But he expected the number of warnings to drop significantly over the next few weeks.

CD Security director Reuben Takarua, whose staff work the doors of many of Palmerston North's night-time venues, said the issue of people using false identification was ongoing.

He agreed it was mostly young women using someone else's identification.

Tricks like using nail polish to blur a birthdate were also common, but if it wasn't readable, the person would not be allowed in.

Mr Takarua said he'd had girls show him their stretch marks to "prove" they were over 18, but the rule is no identification, no entry.

Security staff kept copies of identification they confiscated, and people who had their identification removed were given a receipt to claim it back from police.

Massey University Students' Association president Linsey Higgins said there was often a lot of social pressure on young people whose friends were of the drinking age to be able to go out with them. A $250 fine may not be enough to deter people from temptation, she said.

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- Manawatu Standard

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