5,400 fraudulent passports were issued last year
10 October 2008: The Home Office declares the real scale of the fraudulent documents is impossible to quantify, but it admits that nearly 5,400 fraudulent passports were probably issued last year alone. For the previous year the figure was 10,000.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency DVLA declares that "tens of thousands" of its licences are suspect. The scale of the problem proves the weaknesses of the elaborate border security systems.
The relatively high error level in national identity databases is forcing both IPS and DVLA to upgrade procedures and develop automated facial recognition systems. The computerised scheme, once fully operational, is expected to contain up to 50m digital images of drivers, and run checks on up to 30,000 licence applications and penalty point registrations a day.
The DVLA believes biometric checking measures now being tested will help to prevent drivers from creating new identities, evading disqualification or passing off penalty points to others.
The DVLA and the Passport Agency work closely together on projects such as ID cards for foreign nationals.