Clarence (Harry) Willcock

Roger Ball will outline how during the Second World War the government introduced compulsory ID cards as part of their emergency measures. It was not until seven years after the War that ID cards were finally withdrawn. Clarence Willcock, a Liberal activist, was instrumental in this process; his refusal to show his ID card when stopped by the police in North London in 1950 raised questions about their use in peacetime Britain, led to a campaign and contributed to the withdrawal of the cards in 1952.

Since 1952 there have been several attempts to re-introduce ID cards, in the 1980s amongst football fans and in the wake of 9-11 and the London bombings. There have also been some specific campaigns such as Defy ID and No2ID that have rebuffed a national ID scheme. John Pegram from Bristol Copwatch will outline how this contested process has continued over the last decade with recent plans to introduce compulsory finger-printing on the street as part of stop-and-search.

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