§ Mr. Molloy
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he is satisfied with the security of current procedures for passport applications to prevent forgeries; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Luard
I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave today to the hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Churchill).467W
§ Mr. Churchill
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take steps to prevent passports being obtained by the fraudulent presentation of another person's birth certificate; and how many British subjects and aliens, respectively are known to have obtained passports or British travel documents in this way.
§ Mr. Luard
For a 10-year passport, the application must be countersigned by a professional person who is able to confirm the applicant's identity. My right hon. Friend is satisfied that no further practical safeguards can be introduced without unacceptable inconvenience and delay. Since the beginning of 1977, when over 2½ million standard and visitor's passports have been issued, 98 cases of impersonation have been detected. Ninety-four of the offenders were known to be British subjects.