An estimated 10,000 false passports are in circulation in the UK according to the country’s Interior Ministry. The announcement coincides with a drive to reduce identity fraud by bringing in face-to-face applications. Convicted terrorist Dhiren Barot who is serving 40 years in prison had nine false passports. He planned to blow up a tube train under the Thames as part of his campaign. Footage of potential targets in the UK and US was found at his home. It is claimed a planned interview process would trap similar offenders. But critics, like opposition spokesman Damian Green, say the system is in disarray:
“The problem with face-to-face interviews is that they will no doubt inconvenience millions of perfectly normal, decent, ordinary law-abiding citizens. The people they won’t convenience are serious criminals, who will know to send along someone who has not got a criminal record or who won’t be known to the authorities in this country to collect the passport so that they can do with it what they want.” Last month, a report claimed more than 1,000 passports were going missing each year in the post. The government has said the estimated extent of passport fraud justifies their argument for the introduction of ID cards as another level of security.