Why age verification technology could trialled in bars and shops in Sheffield

Age verification technology is to be trialled in shops, bars and restaurants in a bid to reduce the number of underage customers served with restricted items.

Age verification technology could be trialled in shops, bars and restaurants (Photo: Getty)
Age verification technology could be trialled in shops, bars and restaurants (Photo: Getty)

Shops, bar and restaurant owners have been invited to put forward proposals to trial new technology when carrying out age verification checks.

The Home Office and the Office for Product Safety and Standards has asked retailers to pilot new technology to check the age of customers buying alcohol and other age restricted items.

The pilots will explore how technology can strengthen current measures in place to prevent those under 18 from buying alcohol, reduce violence or abuse towards shop workers and ensure there are robust age checks in place.

Home Office minister Baroness Williams of Trafford said: “Having a robust age verification system is absolutely critical in preventing the sale of alcohol to children and the harm under-age drinking causes.

“These pilots will allow us to explore how new technology can improve the experience of buying and selling alcohol, both for the consumer and the retailer.”

It will be up to applicants to suggest products to trial.

Retailers can submit applications online and will be required to provide detail on how the technology works and how they plan to test it.

The pilots will allow a wide range of digital age verification technology to be tested, and the findings will be used to understand the impact of this technology and inform future policy.

Tony Allen, Chairman of the Expert Panel on Age Restrictions and Chief Executive Officer of the Age Check Certification Scheme, said: “We welcome this important initiative to properly test, evaluate and provide assurance and certification of the plethora of technologies that are emerging to help with age assurance.

“This will assist with enhancing the protection of children from harm, but also potentially reducing the levels of abuse suffered by workers in licensed premises when challenging for proof of age.”

The Office for Product Safety and Standards will be hosting a series of webinars over the next two months to assist retailers in drafting their proposals.

Applications will be assessed by a group of experts from a range of organisations, including the Home Office, Trading Standards, the Office for Product Safety and Standards and Metropolitan Police.

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