Attorney-General Questions: Personation

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General how many prosecutions the Crown Prosecution Service has carried out for identity theft in each of the last five years; and what the conviction rates were in each such year.

The Solicitor-General: The records held by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) identify the number of offences in which a prosecution commenced and reached a first hearing in magistrates courts, rather than the number of defendants. There is no specific offence of identity theft however, the Identity Documents Act 2010 created offences under sections 4(1), 5(1) and 6(1), relating to the possession, manufacture and use of false identity documents or of using another person's identity documents. These are specific identity documents such as passports or driving licences.

During the last three years, for which data are available, the number of these offences was as follows:

 2010-112011-122012-13

Identity Documents Act 2010 (4(1) and (2))

41

1,146

1,73

Identity Document Act 2010 (5(1))

0

14

15

Identity Documents Act 2010 (6(1))

0

341

299

Total

41

1,501

1,587

No central records of the prosecution outcomes of offences are held by the CPS. To obtain the volume and rate of convictions a manual exercise of reviewing individual case files would need to be undertaken at a disproportionate cost.

In addition to the above offences, the use of another person's identity may result in other charges such as theft, fraud by false representation, possession of articles for use in fraud, obtaining services dishonestly and false accounting. No central record of the circumstances of an offence is maintained. Such data could not reasonably be obtained locally or nationally other than by undertaking a manual exercise of reviewing individual case files at a disproportionate cost.