The Metropolitan police has called on printer manufacturers to sign up to a code of conduct to stop specialist equipment falling into the hands of identity thieves.
The call comes after an Albanian criminal gang who forged thousands of passports and identity cards from their base in a north London flat were sentenced to more than 21 years in prison last month.
Project Genesius is a partnership between the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and the printing industry, and designed to reduce criminals’ access to the equipment and supplies they need to produce false identity documents.
Manufacturers who sign up to the code must keep records on customers who buy specialised printing devices such as thermal card printers, and they must warn police of any suspect customers.
Project Genesius has succeeded in infiltrating 14 criminal networks, has seized hundreds of printers and other specialist equipment, and has uncovered more than 30,000 false identities since it was set up two years ago.
The initiative, which was started by officers from Operation Maxim, the Met’s Organised Immigration Crime Unit, seeks to encourage companies selling printers, stamps and other specialist equipment to sign up to the code.
WIdespread Identity fraud
Detective Chief Inspector Nick Downing, who is leading Project Genesius, said: ‘We need members of the printing industry to continue to come forward and agree to help us with our project. They are integral to our success in combating the production of false identity documents.
‘So far, 90 printing and stamp industry members have signed up to our voluntary code of conduct, but we need more. There are potentially thousands of companies, small, medium and large, that sell these products. We already have a good relationship with the industry and need more companies to join us.’
‘Officers on the project are working hard to prevent the sale of certain printers, stamps and other specialist equipment, while educating the industry on the ways in which criminals intent on creating false identities go about their activity. The use of false identities is widespread across the United Kingdom and impacts on all of us. By working with the industry we can really make an impact, and I would encourage any company selling these products to sign up to our code of conduct.’
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