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