Warning over new passport centres

AN East of England Euro MP has advised people to apply for new passports now before they are forced to go to new “interrogation centres” which are opening in Ipswich and Chelmsford in the spring.

AN East of England Euro MP has advised people to apply for new passports now before they are forced to go to new “interrogation centres” which are opening in Ipswich and Chelmsford in the spring.

Tom Wise claims that if people value “their freedom, privacy and your dignity,” they should get their applications in now.

However, the Home Office said the scheme only applied to first time applicants and was intended to cut down on fraud and identity theft.

The interview centres are being set up so that passport applicants can authenticate their identity by producing their National Insurance numbers, current and previous addresses, and educational institutions they attended.

Mr Wise, who represents the UK Independence Party in Brussels, said: “The information will be used to look up everything that can be found out about you on all the Government and private sector databases they can lay their hands on.

“Over the next year every new applicant will be called in to their nearest interrogation centre. There you will be fingerprinted and photographed, and put through an intrusive interview to check that you can give answers about private details of your life that agree with the official ones.”

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Interview centres are being opened at Rosebury House in Chelmsford and Crown House, in Crown Street, Ipswich.

A Home Office spokesman, confirmed first time applicants would be called for interview.

He said: “People will be asked basic information about themselves - not deeply private, but information that can be checked. The point is to prevent fraudsters stealing other peoples' identity.

“We estimate that the interview will last between 10 and 20 minutes.”