Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Northlink photo ID proposals

From 1st May 2008 all passengers over the age of sixteen will have to prove their identity through a nationally recognised form of photo ID before being allowed to embark on any Northlink ferry.


Anonymous said...

A clear breach of my civil liberties and an erosion of my privicy.
I will not be using Northlink if this goes ahead.

Anonymous said...

NorthLink are taking a lead in passenger safety, and enusring the islander discount is being given to those who deserve it. A lot of fuss about nothing if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Surely against civil liberties, Orkney is part of the UK and no where else would you be expected to present ID to move within the country. I'm against the move.

Number 6 said...

I'm glad to see this issue is picking up some momentum. I’m sorry also that this is a lengthy piece. It wasn’t meant that way at the outset!

My own view, for what it's worth, is that Northlink got themselves into a mess on this early on and now can't accept the loss of face in admitting they were wrong. It's a fact - not supposition - that many people in Orkney don't have photo-id (let alone a nationally-recognised photo-id). Not everyone flies in and out so it's never been an issue for a good many folk. Adding a photo to the scruffy little piece of cardboard Northlink issued years ago is just silly.

If Northlink see a problem with people who're barred from using the boat getting aboard by using another name, let them employ security personnel to weed them out and refuse them boarding - let's face it, they must know what they look like in the first place, or they wouldn’t know they had a problem, would they? If Northlink see a problem with people misusing the subvention scheme, let them cancel their "customer id number" and so bar those offenders from using the scheme at all. If Northlink see a problem with terrorists trying to blow up one of their boats, or hi-jack it, perhaps with a view to flying – sorry, sailing - it into the lighthouse at Aberdeen Harbour, then let them announce it as a threat. Insisting that I or anyone else produce a passport / photocard driving licence before being able to board is just a nonsense, and isn't going to prevent anything.

Will they bar all people who have Islamic names, or who look as though they might be Islamic, from travelling, "just in case"? Or lock them up while on passage? We have to be sure, you know – that’s the whole purpose of the scheme, isn’t it? “Being sure”? Maybe they should do a criminal record check on all passengers as well - "just to be sure" - and refuse boarding to all those with a criminal record who might be a risk on the high seas.....

As for the reaction of those arriving from the south of England being refused boarding if they don't have photo id..... what an impossible position Northlink are putting their staff in. Right at the front line of making lots of people very unhappy indeed. As so often with ill-thought-out systems like this, it’s not compliance that’s the big issue; it’s what you do when there’s non-compliance - so a bona fide holidaymaker or truck / freight driver gets turned away because they’ve forgotten a piece of photo-id. Perhaps we should have a sign erected over each terminal entrance - "Have your photo-ID ready. Or Else. Welcome to Orkney".

To those who insist that "if you've nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear", I'd simply suggest that since most crimes of violence are committed in the home, you - having nothing to hide because you're a good, upright, honourable citizen – won’t object to CCTV linked to the Police Station being installed in your house "to be sure", will you? Or will you? You will? Hmmmm..... that's suspicious. No smoke without fire, y'know........ Perhaps Mr Davidson will show us all the way by volunteering for CCTV in his home.

I think we have to acknowledge that Northlink, within the constraints of the contract to provide lifeline services, have the right to impose whatever conditions of carriage they like. They in turn must acknowledge that their target market has the right to use another provider, as I certainly shall. They should also acknowledge that their obligation to their client group is provision of a lifeline service across a smallish piece of the Northern seas which has no direct, unsecured, connection to any international services and so no need for photo-id. They need only to know the number of passengers they’re carrying, and their names / addresses, for use if the boat is lost at sea.

There's a related issue and danger for Orkney in all this: if Pentland Ferries succeed in completely destroying the remains of the Northlink business plan (as looks inevitable once their new boat comes on stream, with more sailings, better timed and quicker) then what do we do for a lifeline service if the Scottish Executive / Government decides that if Andrew Banks can do it without subsidy, then Northlink must too? In the words of the song, “there may be trouble ahead…” - already there are rumours that in response to Pentland's new boat, Northlink will abandon Stromness / Scrabster and sail Stromness / Invergordon to pick up all the (profitable) freight traffic. If that were true, Orkney would be left with a situation where the only service to the North coast of Scotland isn't secure because of an enforceable contract - it's secure only as long as Pentland want to run it, at whatever price it wants to charge. The value of a lifeline service is in part that it's regulated and contracted. Pentland Ferries is neither.

Anonymous said...

Number 6 has some good points, although they are quite one-sided - i think to the extent where he/she is refusing 'reality'. It is hard to buy an argument when it is so biased!

There are some good points on shetlands forum on this poll...

Anonymous said...

Well done No.6. I think that you have covered most points fully and most realistically. I definitely think that until Photo ID's become law that Northlink are infringing my civil liberties.

Well done Steven Heddle for finally getting this debate started officially. I thought that Northlink was going to get photo ID's in by the back door. There was one little paragraph in one of the papers and apart from the letter of the month very little coverage by our local rags. Isn't it time the papers did a bit of biased campaigning on behalf of their readers concerns?

We did go to our local MSP and MP so let us hope they get to grips with this topic.

There are people who like to visit Orkney to visit relatives as well as those who like to come up for a holiday and IT COSTS to travel by ferry and IT COSTS to buy a passport especially when the only time you are likely to use it is when travelling by Northlink ferry. Some people don't drive or don't have a photo licence and remember when chip and pin cards appeared banks stopped producing photo cards.

Even Northlink's sister company Calmac are not intending to introduce photo ID.

I am one of the most law abiding people I know but fully intend to be difficult when asked to produce ID. This will be unfair to the staff and I will be upset at having to make a statement.

I personally have never, in all my 32 years of living here and frequently travelling on the ferries, ever seen any bad behaviour, most people are trying to find their sea legs or have their head down.

Query? Is this company trying to drive away the local people on to the OTHER company so that there is more room for the tourists. Have you tried getting a cabin (if you can afford one) in the summer season. NO?! Something to do with block bookings perhaps?!

Steve Sankey said...

Well done Steven for taking this issue up. I tried reasoning with them over their policy of allowing smoking on decks and got absolutely nowhere. All I asked for was for 1 deck to be nominated smoke free so that we could travel outside in comfort. We now don't use them unless we absolutely have to (for travel to Shetland & animal transportation). Their ID proposals are a serious infringement of personal liberty, unnecessary, and using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. I can't believe that people on your survey actually support these proposals - must be Northlink staff & friends! Steve Sankey

Anonymous said...

Well done NorthLink for some forward thinking, passenger welfare is essential. Better doing something now before it is too late and then there would be some to do. There will come a time in the future when we will have to carry ID all the time. I don't see anything wrong with it at all.

Anonymous said...

Very quickly to add that most points have been covered including civil rights, and I agree I will never use this transport if they decide it is to be implemented. However I would like to add that if we as Islanders are being asked for ID then so should the rest of there passangers from the mainland or else this is quite obviously a clear case of discrimination against the Islanders, I will also add its against Civil rights under European Law, so lets get the EU court to give comment.
Oh yes thats also a good point, if Mr Banks can run this without financial input from the local police state sorry i meant council then what is Northlink doing with all that money, appart from feeding the fat cats that would be on some obscure payrole.
Message to Mr Heddle this is a good idea for a forum but it needs more public advertising like a box number from the Orcadian or other, like, More phone ins through the Superstation as it is on all day.
Because I take a lot to get grumpy on issues but this one is a real cracker, so plenty others must feel the same.
From Gordon Brown

Anonymous said...

Well done to Northlink for some forward thinking, taking into consideration passenger welfare and safety and making Orkney a safer place to live.

There will come a day when we will to carry ID the whole time and folks will think nothing about, so come on moaners get into the real world - 2008

Anonymous said...

Whit a stoosie over such a minor issue. Whats the problem with photo ID. Its a every day thing to be asked for some sort of photo idea noo adays.
I some times think that too many of us still live in the victorian age. Get real and accept that Phot ID , like it or lump it will soon be part of life even in the far flung islands that we live in. There are many other more important issues in the real world to deal with.