2/19/2006

I-D Cards And Mind Boggling Home Office Incompetence.

Hello,

I see the introduction of I-D cards has already hit a few snags. Why is it that the words Government and new computer system always seem to be followed by total bloody catastrophe? There's a good short article in The Independent listing the snags so far. I'm sure these are only the tip of the iceberg.

For some reason I find myself reminded of a peculiar incident that took place in work this week. On Wednesday a very agitated Turkish family appeared in my surgery brandishing a large brown envelope containing three Turkish passports, one British passport, several British and Turkish birth certificates all apparently belonging to different people in no way connected to this family or each other. Sadly they weren't trying to corrupt me, these had been sent to them by the Home Office by unregistered post. On the plus side the Home Office did manage to include one Turkish I-D card belonging to the correct family. I'd love to say this incident was atypical, it isn't.

Off the top of my head I can think of a few uses these documents could be put to by someone dishonest. They could be used to make multiple benefit claims (see Szoma v Secretary of State), open a bank account, money laundering, falsely obtaining credit, fraud and so on. I'm sure a few of our terrorist chums could find far more alarming uses for them. I accept that administrative errors occur, however I'm appalled that at a time when we are being told by the government we are in constant danger of terrorist attack, the same government is sending sensitive personal documentation out by unregistered post.

Over the last few years I have had one bank card, three cheques and, God knows why, several essays go missing in the post, so naturally I'm sceptical about the honesty and competence of Royal Mail staff. I am not alone. There have also been two documentaries shown by Channel Four exposing the level of theft in the post office. The performance of Royal Mail is monitored by Postwatch. It is inconceivable that the government are not aware of the risk they are taking sending these documents by unregistered post. Fortunately on this occasion the documents were delivered to decent, honest people, obviously there is no guarantee that this will happen in every case. I for one, would be very interested to know how many dodgy passports can be traced back to the post office.

I am at a loss as to how a government that believes I-D cards will help prevent terrorism can be so lax about security issues surrounding other forms of I-D. Still that's Tony and the lads for you, tough on crime, tough on the cause of crime.

Cheerio


P.S Have a read at this by Mr Hutton. I have been giggling ever since I first read it.

8 comments:

ill man said...

I always thought that Idi Amin bloke was a bit hard done by............

Soupdragon said...

I live in HK and we've had ID cards since the dawn on time... maybe cos it was a colony. However, the fact remains that it functions with no trouble ~ no-one's ever arrested by accident, ID fraud is extremely rare, and the frequent raids on the Mong Kok mini-factories that sell fake ones keep the local bobbies in work.
Mind you, HK only has a population of 7 million, compared with the UK's what, 58 million? Still, people ask me (as the resident foreigner) why I don't think the UK should have ID cards too.
Are you kidding? They can't even open the post at the Inland Revenue within 6 weeks of receiving it or issue passports where the standard-size photos are rejected for being 0.5mm too small. Don't get me started.
Great blog, by the way. Loved your bit on Supernanny.

the anti-barney said...

What they just don't seem to get is that the people up to no good will probably be the only ones with proper I.D.s and passports.

B.t.w.,thanks to you I checked out 24 Hour Party People,excellent.

Clairwil said...

Cheers everyone and thanks to you anti-barney I can now tell everyone I write an influential blog.

alan said...

for years i've had major problems with the local post. stuff just vanishes, and i regularly have to ask people to cancel cheques that fail to arrive. after numerous complaints and a few convoluted claims for lost mail i was told (unofficially) that the root of the problem lay in the fact that we were on a 'training route' for postmen. this seemed plausible since we do have a never-ending array of disorientated-looking postmen laden down with junk mail tripping up the path, so i accepted this explanation, although it onviously didn't make me any happier. then, about a month ago i got an email from someone who was trying to send me a piece of computer equipment by recorded delivery saying it had been returned 'address unknown', while 2 previous ones he had sent had simply disappeared. next, a couple of weeks ago, my brother tried to send me an important recorded delivery parcel. i sat around every morning for a week waiting to sign for the bloody thing. nothing. i even asked some of the neighbours - whose mail regularly comes through our letterbox - if they had received it. then, last saturday my brother got the parcel back marked 'address unknown', and when he picked up the phone to ask 'customer services' (no longer 'complaints') what that meant they said there was no such address anywhere in the known universe. of course the address does exist - in the phone book, for example - and eventually some idiot at postal HQ explained that because my address falls exactly on the dividing line between 2 postcodes (and therefore doesn't belong to either) it doesn't actually exist. dear god, this is what we're up against. and what on earth happens to all the mail that doesn't arrive at this black hole but has no return address? no-one knows.

ill man said...

I don't have many good words to say about Royal Mail. Simply put, never send ANYTHING of value in the post. They seem to employ just about any jake willing to walk about for a few hours until the pubs open.

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