Beer Fingerprinting

The onward and relentless surge of enthusiasm for surveillance by those who would control our every move (and, doubtless, thoughts if they could) continues apace. The recent story regarding the utterly naive assumption that tagging air passengers like criminals will, in some magical way help to curb terrorism, is now added to by the desire to fingerprint pub goers (courtesy of El Reg), presumably in a desire to control drunken behaviour.

The government is is funding the roll out of fingerprint security at the doors of pubs and clubs in major English cities.

Funding is being offered to councils that want to have their pubs keep a regional black list of known trouble makers. The fingerprint network installed in February by South Somerset District Council in Yeovil drinking holes is being used as the show case.

Right. Strike Yeovil off my list of places to go for a night out.

“The Home Office have looked at our system and are looking at trials in other towns including Coventry, Hull & Sheffield,” said Julia Bradburn, principal licensing manager at South Somerset District Council.

Make that, Yeovil, Coventry (why would I want to go out for a night in Coventry anyway?) Hull and Sheffield.

Gwent and Nottingham police have also shown an interest, while Taunton, a town neighbouring Yeovil, is discussing the installation of fingerprint systems in 10 pubs and clubs with the systems supplier CreativeCode.

Fuck me! That’s Yeovil, Coventry, Hull, Sheffield, Taunton, Nottingham and Gwent all out of the running. The world is rapidly shrinking.

Bradburn could not say if fingerprint security in Yeovil had displaced crime to neighbouring towns, but she noted that domestic violence had risen in Yeovil.

Oh, really? Well, there’s a surprise…

The council had assumed it was its duty under the Crime and Disorder Act (1998) to reduce drunken disorder by fingerprinting drinkers in the town centre.

Did it indeed? Well, I can assume, therefore that Yeovil town council comprises of a bunch of nasty authoritarian fuckwits who assume rather too much. Their duty may be to reduce drunken disorder; their duty is absolutely not to treat every drinker as if they are a criminal.

El Reg points out that licensees were not exactly unanimous:

Some licensees were not happy to have their punters fingerprinted, but are all now apparently behind the idea. Not only does the council let them open later if they join the scheme, but the system costs them only £1.50 a day to run.

The sting?

New licences stipulate that a landlord who doesn’t install fingerprint security and fails to show a “considerable” reduction in alcohol-related violence, will be put on report by the police and have their licences revoked.

There’s a word that describes this behaviour. That word is “blackmail”. That local politicians resort to extortion to get their way simply reinforces the notion that the nasty little arseholes are emulating their bigger cousins in Westminster.

At no time will I ever patronise any hostelry that requires me to provide fingerprints. I don’t want to go into pubs anything like enough to allow them to treat me as if I am guilty of criminal behaviour.

So, that’s pubs and flying down. What next, I wonder?


  1. Disgraceful. They want to control us. Totalitarianism is aided by the acquiescence (and often support) of scumbag local politicians.

    If I ever witness the man who thought this bastard scheme up, please remind me to pour a pint of your finest beer over his balding, fascist head.

  2. I thought it might also be worth adding that it is always the same few stupid councils that decide to try out these controlling measures, isn’t it? Yeovil have been down a few times for surveillance projects, I think.

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