§ Mr. Hawkins
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he plans to take following recent convictions of offenders who had obtained duplicate passports; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Beverley Hughes
[holding answer 4 July 2002]The United Kingdom Passport Service has a range of checks in place to prevent and detect passport fraud including a check on the death records of under 18-year-olds in England and Wales. This check is a significant step forward in our efforts to crack down on the fraudulent use of birth certificates. Enhancing its capability to prevent and detect fraud is a business priority for the Passport Service. It is implementing a comprehensive fraud action plan, and is working actively with other agencies to develop its identity validation techniques.