Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/06/14/passport_fraud/
Home Office passport fraud sweep flops
Security upgrade strike rate effing pathetic
The Home Office security upgrade scheme to catch passport fraudsters through face-to-face interviews has bagged just eight potential 'Jackals'.
The project, requiring first-time passport applicants to attend interviews with officials from the Identity and Passport Service (IPS), launched in 2007 and has resulted in no prosecutions or convictions.
More than half a million people have been interviewed through the scheme, kicking off 4000 fraud investigations, but only eight have been refused a passport on the evidence obtained. The Home Office is not able to say what has happened to these eight.
The Daily Telegraph got hold of the embarrassing figures after making a freedom of information request.
In response to the revelations, a Home Office spokesman said: "Identity authentication interviews were introduced to our passport process to make it more difficult to obtain passports fraudulently.
"They are just one part of a rigorous system, which includes checks prior to interview, which is designed to uncover fraudulent cases and to act as a strong deterrent to false applications."
Government estimates put fraudulent passport applications at 4,400 per year. The face-to-face interview system cost £93m to set up, and £30m a year to run.
By coincidence, a standard UK passport has leaped in price from £28 in 2001 to £77.50 today. ®