9 AUGUST 2010
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With the holiday season in the UK at its peak the Home Office Identity and Passport Service has issued figures showing that more than 60,000 British travellers reported their passport lost or stolen abroad between April 2009 and March 2010. This is despite new research by the Identity and Passport Service (IPS), which shows that 83% of people say they always store their passport in a safe place. The full number of passports that were replaced last year for one reason or another was 270,000.
IPS is today urging passport holders to take a few simple steps to keep their documents safe abroad and in the UK.
This is what the agency. which is part of the Home Office, has to say. In the US passports are handled by the State Department – which we call the Foreign Office.
1. When travelling, take two photocopies of your passport, leaving one at home and keeping one separate from your passport.
2. Keep your passport with you at all times. It can come in very useful. For instance over 65s get discounts and even free perks, but a passport will be needed for identity proof.
3. Be wary if you are asked to surrender your passport; and always report a lost or stolen passport to the local police and inform the British Consulate when abroad and to IPS and the police when in the UK.
Three very simple steps.
Sarah Rapson, Chief Executive of IPS, said:
“It is vital that people take care of their passports, both at home and abroad. Passports are increasingly attractive documents to organised criminals.
“Hijacking someone else’s identity can help facilitate a wide range of very serious crimes.” A recent case concerning the Middle East highlights this.
When a person reports their passport lost or stolen, IPS logs the details and cancels it on its system. It then notifies immigration and law enforcement agencies around the world to try and minimise the risk of it being misused.
Experience shows that losing a passport abroad can be a serious inconvenience. It is very easy to safeguard oneself. Take the three steps. It is not a lot of effort. It will pay dividends in the long run.
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