Lincolnshire PC Andy Wells calls for more work on subject identity

EMPAC is pleased to support PC Andy Wells of Linconshire Police’s Foreign National Offending Team call for more work to professionalise subject identity. How much do we know and really understand? What could improve things? If you have ideas to help please get in touch!

Identity – Who are we dealing with?

Throughout my service as a front line officer and on specialist roles, the issue of establishing a subject’s identity has always been underestimated within the criminal investigation, be it the suspect or as a complainant or key witnesses.

Since the expansion of the EEA in 2004 and 2006 and the change of demographics to the UK the importance of establishing who we are dealing is clearly important. The same principles apply to any person the Police come into contact with whether it be British or Foreign national.

A search for training material available to officers is limited in that there are sections within College of Policing – IPLDP & ICDIP but no structured training course that summarises the checks and balances that need to be undertaken by an officer when dealing with a subject.

To put this into perspective the importance of Identity is summarised below.

  • Manage risk / threat / harm from the subject to the organisation and community.
  • Create accurate records in line with MOPI and the General Data Protection Regulations.
  • Accurate RRRD of information.
  • Accurate PNC records.
  • Assist other crime areas e.g. SISII, NBTC, SIENA.
  • Accurate ACRO checks – risk / threat / harm.
  • Reduce risk of litigation via inaccurate recording.
  • Reduce potential fines from the Information Commissioner for serious breaches.
  • Reduce negative media exposure if a serious breach results in a serious offence being committed by an individual.


Operational practice varies from force to force, but a baseline needs to be established to promote best practice. Within Lincolnshire Police the following best practice has been adopted.

  • Identity document present. Check against IFADO on Mobile Data Terminal via link / Desktop device.
  • Utilise UV scanners in operational and custody environment.
  • Consider DPA form to employer to obtain copy of ID document produced to gain employment.
  • Consider search powers S44 / S45 Borders Act 2007.
  • PNC research #PA Passport screen.
  • Contact Home Office Command & Control for check of subject details.
  • Complete ACRO via semi-automated custody process or manually if not an arrested subject.


The time is right for each force to review its practices on how they establish a person’s Identity and what do their officers really know and understand.

The below websites provide further guidance to assist officers and the organisation when establishing a person’s Identity.

Intranet False & Authentic Documents Online – shows details of genuine documents and forged & counterfeit documents for Police use.

Netherlands Police Central Intelligence Division website.  Details of genuine identity documents (site does not hold driving licences).

Public Register of Authentic travel and Identity Documents Online – Shows details of genuine documents for employers to check.

Guidance on the pre-employment screening of civil servants, members of the armed forces, temporary staff and government contractors.

Pre-employment screening comprises the procedures involved in deciding an individual’s suitability to hold employment in a given job role. This is not limited to ‘new joiners’, but also individuals who are moving between job roles within an organisation. A suitable level of screening should be applied to all individuals who are provided access to organisational assets including permanent, temporary and contract workers.


For further information or if you have ideas n how to help develop this area contact PC 279 Andy Wells, Foreign National Offending Team, Lincolnshire Police.