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Volume 481: debated on Monday 27 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to combat the use of fraudulent identity documents. (227562)

The use of false identity documentation is a problem which we take very seriously. Our response is led by the UK Border Agency National Document Fraud Unit (NDFU) based at Status Park near Heathrow which is recognised both at home and abroad as the leader in its field. NDFU devises and conducts forgery detection training for all UK Border Agency personnel, ranging from basic training for new entrants, through intermediate to expert level. NDFU also delivers training to the police, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, and the Department for Work and Pensions. This in turn leads to substantial numbers of falsified documents being discovered within the United Kingdom and inhibits the ability of people to adopt false identities.

The Government are keen to ensure that there are effective deterrents in place for those who use false identity documents. On 7 June 2006 we brought into force section 25 of the Identity Cards Act 2006 which created new criminal offences of being in possession or control of false identity documents. Law enforcement agencies continue to use these and other legislative provisions to undertake investigations and prosecutions against those who manufacture, sell and utilise false identity documents for a variety of criminal purposes.

In addition, the Passport Validation Service provided by the Identity and Passport Service allows organisations to validate the status of a UK passport that has been presented to them as evidence of identity, and has been operational since July 2006.

Government are aware that it can be difficult for organisations in the public and private sector to recognise fraudulent identification documents. The implementation of the National Identity Scheme will provide people with a highly secure means of protecting their identity and help citizens to prove their identities easily, quickly and with vastly improved security.