Page last updated at 07:23 GMT, Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Video link targets passport fraud

British passport
The video link is designed to reduce the risk of passport fraud

A hi-tech method of tackling passport fraud and identity theft is being launched in a south of Scotland town.

The secure video link in Stranraer allows first time passport applicants to be interviewed by trained staff hundreds of miles away.

It is currently being rolled out to smaller communities and islands in Scotland, England and Wales.

The move follows the introduction of 68 face-to-face interview offices across Great Britain to deter fraudsters.

It is one of a range of anti-fraud measures brought in by the Identity and Passport Service (IPS).

This technology will benefit the whole community by offering greater convenience to those needing a passport
Ivor Hyslop
Council leader
It says it prevented about 10,000 fraudulent applications last year.

The hi-tech link follows the introduction of 68 interview offices set up over the past 18 months to interview first-time adult passport applicants face-to-face.

The new service is operated in partnership with local authorities who provide premises and staff to allow the interviews to take place with IPS officials at a central office.

Home Office Minister for Identity Meg Hillier said: "Face-to-face interviews are a major step forward in stopping fraudsters set on hijacking other people's identities to carry out serious crimes.

"However, most people are law-abiding citizens who just want a passport without fuss.

"Interviews by video link will benefit thousands of people living in smaller communities while ensuring the British passport remains one of the most secure passports in the world."

Dumfries and Galloway Council leader Ivor Hyslop also welcomed the move.

'Waste of money'

He said: "This technology will benefit the whole community by offering greater convenience to those needing a passport.

"We are pleased to work in partnership with the IPS to help offer this service while doing our bit to help fight passport fraud."

The IPS said passport fraud was often linked with other criminal activity such as benefit fraud, illegal immigration, illegal working, drug trafficking and terrorism.

The interview requirement is one of a range of measures developed by IPS to stop criminals hijacking other people's identities to carry out serious crimes.

However, the scheme has received criticism in some quarters.

Last year the Conservative Party described it as a "waste of money".

Print Sponsor


SEE ALSO
10,000 passports go to fraudsters
20 Mar 07 |  UK Politics

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2019 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific