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London issuing proof of age IDs to students

A proof of age card scheme has been launched by London’s Kingston Council for all high school-aged students in the borough.

The Kingston borough is the latest to join the scheme, as the Council’s Trading Standards and Public Health department has offered the Proof of Age London (PAL) cards for free to all 17-18 year old students in the borough as part of a pilot initiative.

Beyond the pilot, the cards will cost around £8 and will be compliant with the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) founded in 2001. The Proof of Age Standards Scheme includes a network of 17 card providers spread across the country.

The idea behind the initiative is to give students a reliable form of ID, while also helping businesses to mitigate the risk of selling age-restricted goods to minors.

Nearly 600 cards have been issued as part of the Kingston Council pilot to date. To qualify for a PAL card a student must be living in or attending school in a London borough. However, the card can be used across the United Kingdom as a proof of age document. PAL cards are issued and administered on behalf of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames by the London Borough of Southwark.

According to the Kingston Council website, businesses in the borough typically operate under the ‘Challenge 25’ principle, where if a customer looks 25 or under they are asked for identification when purchasing age restricted products or services. It’s a common practice at the movie theaters, pubs, night clubs and retail shops.

The PAL card will help to guard against the sale of age-restricted items in the UK like alcohol, air guns, knives, aerosol spray cans, fireworks, gas lighters, tobacco and tattoos which are illegal for minors under the age of 18.

Every card that carries the unique PASS hologram will have been issued by a card provider who has passed an application and accreditation process that examines the procedures they adopt to check and verify identity.

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