Just wait till there are queues of people outside the processing centres. Can't wait!
Lets face it: Processing Centres are unlikely to be jolly places.
Here is my attempt at a pre-imagining of the likely Home Office leaflet giving information about one's visit to the ID Centre:
My visit to the Identity Assessment Centre
Arriving at the centre
Most appointments are for 9-00 am. This is to ensure ample time through the day for all the various stages of interviewing, verification, biometrics scanning and database registration that are necessary. As long as you arrive on-time (no more than 12 minutes late), you are unlikely to need to wait more than at most 3 hours to be interviewed. Provided you are who you say you are and can prove it to the full satisfaction of our experienced and fully-trained Identity Assessment Officers, and as long as all of your documents are in order, then you may be able to collect your new National Identity Card at 5-15pm the same day, or at most you will need to return on another day with, again, only limited waiting.
Due to the Government's policy of restricting the growth of personal car ownership and use, no car parking is available to visitors to the ID Scheme Enrolment Centres. If, however, preferring this form of transport, you should be prepared for difficulty and delays in finding parking facilities in the locality of the centres.
All centres have been built within reasonable reach of adequate public transport, and so there is no reason that anyone should find the journey to their Identity Centre at all difficult. A limited number of secure bicycle storage facilities may be available at some centres. A small number of disabled bays are available at some centres and may be used only by those visiting the centre that hold a valid, current badge and which is displayed correctly on the vehicle dash. As there is great demand for disabled bays, you should consider alternative transport arrangements. Strict clamping procedures are rigorously enforced on those abusing these scarce and valuable resources, where available. In the event of an unpaid clamp release fee (currently £140-00), Government contractors are obliged to remove the vehicle concerned to a car pound for subsequent crushing.
What if I do not speak English?
If English is not your first language and you will need an interpreter, you should phone the call centre at least 28 days in advance of your interview date to make appropriate arrangements to attend when there is likely to be a suitable translator available.
At present, we are experiencing shortages of translation personnel in the following languages: Urdu, Afrikaans, Portuguese, Somalian, Russian, Cantonese, German, Zulu and Welsh, and if your language is one of these, long delays may occur, necessitating a follow-up visit or visits to complete the process. Regrettably, due to Data Protection legislation, you are not permitted to bring your own translator to the interviews.
Food and Drink
You are politely reminded that no food or drink is permitted inside the centre. If found within the building with any food items they will be confiscated (taken from you) and you will be fined £45-00. You may also forfeit your position within the numbered queuing system, resulting in potential delay to your visit, or a need to return on a subsequent date or dates.
In some centres it has been possible to provide concessions for major high street restaurant chains, including MacDonalds, KFC and SubWay. Hot beverage vending machines are installed adjacent to the lifts on each floor.
Indicator screens display your number in the queuing system when it is called and it is your responsibility to finish your meal in sufficient time to get to your designated Interview or Scanning room. 4 minutes is allowed for this and if late, your position in the queue numbering system is automatically lost. Please note that food and beverages may not under any circumstances be taken to the interview room or biometrics clinic, but must be consumed only in the designated restaurant areas.
You are asked to co-operate with baggage search and physical screening procedures in place at all entry and exit points to the centres. These are to ensure the safety of all personnel and visitors. Certain items are prohibited completely from the premises at each centre. These include alcohol, weapons of any sort including knives, personal electronic equipment of any sort, including Laptop computers, cameras, Ipod, walkman, 'ghetto blasters', medical equipment (unless accompanied by a current prescription and safety certificate if appropriate ). If arriving with any of these items you will not be permitted entry to the centre due to strictly enforced insurance and safety provisions.
Government security contractors patrol the centres continually and are stationed at the main entry point. Using proprietary ‘Ion Track’ detection equipment, they are trained to detect even the most minute quantities of explosives, firearms, illegal drugs and most pharmaceutical medications. If you carry Pharmaceutical drugs with you (for instance from your GP or hospital) you must ensure you have your latest valid prescription with you in order to be allowed access to the centre.
After you have been authorised to enter the centre, a small electronic radio tag that will be secured to one of your wrists or ankles at your choice and will remain in place and active during your entire stay in the centre. This is provided without charge and for your own safety and it is your responsibility to ensure the tag is not damaged whilst entrusted to you. It will be detached and removed from your wrist or ankle by a Security Officer when you have been authorised to leave the centre. YOU MUST NOT ATTEMPT TO DETATCH IT YOURSELF. Doing so will trigger an alarm and may damage the tag. If damaged, a replacement fee of £268 will be charged.
Taking someone with you
You may be accompanied by a friend, carer or member of the family. However, due to insurance and data protection provisions, anyone accompanying you will be admitted only to the visitors’ waiting area. You may not be accompanied any further into the centre, with the exception of an authorised carer or your own child or children under the age of 4 years and 10 months.
Crèche and supervised play area concessions are provided at some centres and include outlets of Caplin Young Peoples Centres. Hourly charges apply and are payable in advance where such facilities are provided. You will be required to sign a safety waiver before receiving a receipt for your infant. Breast feeding is strictly forbidden within the centre (unless it is a recognised requirement of your faith) as it may be offensive to some minority faith communities.
The centre is monitored throughout by high-definition video cameras and all images are recorded, with recordings retained for 99 years. You should be aware that, whilst this covers all toilet and washing facilities, there is a strict policy in force that allows only male monitoring of male facilities and female monitoring of female facilities. Exceptions occur to this policy only during occasions of staff shortage in the security monitoring room.
The direction of Mecca is clearly indicated in all centres, and prayer facilities are provided on each floor. Prayer times are indicated using an electronic indicator sound, and should this coincide with your appointment within the building for interview, re-interview, biometrics acquisition or document verification, you will be escorted to the nearest prayer area or mosque and your appointment will be suspended until your return.
All centres have a resident Imam who may be reached via the main reception desk. A small number of centres are also equipped with a Christian Multidenominational chapel.
Please be assured that most new enrolments and subsequent updates to your entry on the National Identity Register Computer Database proceed with relatively little difficulty and, on average, only 2.4 visits are needed per person to comply with current legislation.
If there is a delay in processing your Identity Card request, it is quite probable that this is simply due to IT and networking-related matters as our skilled biometrics and information engineers continue to improve the electronic processes involved. So there is usually no need for you to feel apprehensive whilst you wait to see whether your application to establish your identity and to make a request for an ID card to be issued has been granted.
Occasionally, data mismatches and problems in satisfactorily verifying your documentation may result in the initial denial of an ID card with the need for a further visit to supply documents found to be missing, incorrect or damaged at a previous visit.
Where we find your documents to be suspected of fraud, alteration or theft, you will normally be re-interviewed under caution with both a Senior Identity Verification Officer and a Senior Identity Psychologist present. In some cases, a Senior Document Forensics Officer may also be present.
In some situations it may be possible, where only minor omissions and documentation errors are suspected, to allow you to leave the centre whilst further enquiries and database cross-verifications are made. Generally, however, in order to protect the vital data confidence and security that we are contractually obliged to guarantee our overseas, corporate and inter-governmental customers, it will be necessary for you to be detained in the Identity Confidence Assessment Facility, which forms part of the basement of all centres. This probably sounds much more alarming than it actually is, and a one, or at most two, night stay is usually all that is necessary to allow time for the completion of further enquiries and formalities and to decide whether to charge or release you.
Additional Biometric Trials
At some centres we are assessing new ways of producing biometrics with capability to provide you with even higher security. You may be asked to participate in these trials, and if so, will need to sign a consent form. We will then take additional retinal scans of your eyes (very similar to iris scans), and a DNA sample. All this takes only a few minutes more. Of course, participation is entirely voluntary. You will be helping, however, to create a more secure world. As a token, therefore, we will be giving all participants a McDonalds Happy Meal voucher.
Some interesting facts!
Here are some fascinating things we bet you didn’t know…
Each centre is designed to house 4,500 staff
There are now 12 centres around the country
The age range of our customers is from 16 all the way up to an amazing 104 years old!
Each centre houses some of the most advanced computer technology in the world, costing millions upon millions of pounds!
Just one of our computers is the equivalent of 2000 Pentium 4 PCs!!
Her Majesty the Queen is the only person in the UK excused the requirement to enroll on the National Identity Register!
During the first six months of operation, all this happened in our centres around the UK
5 women gave birth
103 people found they were using the wrong name
47 people discovered their spouse was using a false name
24 people died
1289 arrests were made
303 ambulances were called
29 members of staff were seriously injured, 3 subsequently dying
105 members of the public were injured, 4 subsequently dying
2078 knives were confiscated
388 firearms were confiscated
1 seven foot long ceremonial axe was confiscated (and returned to the Museum of Medieval Weaponry, Tallinn!)
But on a lighter note, at the Ashford (2) Centre in Kent, a black and white cat called Iris gave birth to a litter of 3 purrrrfect kittens in the air-conditioning plant room of the main computer installation!!! All are lucky to now have found lovely homes as they were adopted by Centre staff.
A Guide to Your ID Processing Centre
Basement – 20-cell Identity Confidence Facility, Police station, Security Manager, Video Monitoring Suite
Ground Floor – Main Reception, Radio Tag booths 1-24, Visitors’ Lounge, Crèche, Restaurant Concession, Mosque, Main waiting area
1st Floor – Document Submission Counters 1-24, Interview Rooms 1-24, High Security Interview Suite, VIP Identity Card Suite, Emergency Secure Detention Suite, Psychology Offices, Identity Assessment Offices
2nd Floor – Biometrics Reception, Fingerprint Scanning Suites 1-24, Iris Scanning Suites 1-24, Facial Scanning Suites 1-24
3rd Floor – Computer Systems Room 1, Computer Systems Room 2, Computer Systems Room 3, Computer Systems Room 4, Hardware Engineering Labs 1-6, Communications Centre, Hardware Systems Manager Office, Communications Manager Office, Offices reserved for Military intelligence and GCHQ
4th Floor – Executive Offices, Executive Dining, VIP suite
5th Floor - Staff Canteen and Recreation Lounge