Identity theft is so easy we are told. Destroy personal bills, cut-up credit cards, only give your personal details to valid agencies. don't trust e-mailed requests for identity details. etc. But then what defences do we have against the state when its agencies steal our identity? The UK Criminal Records Bureau (CRB)has done exactly that to over 2,700 people.

It appeared to have their details on its database and listed them as having criminal convictions. When they applied for jobs which required a CRB identity check on applicants they were turned down because the CRB said they had criminal records. Actually they were records of other people but the idiotic systems and processes at the CRB confused them with innocent job applicants for childrens' charity positions and such like.

An Emma Budd, from Maesteg in South Wales, was offered by a job by a children's charity, but then had the offer removed when a CB check wrongly identified her as having shoplifting convictions. She said: "Then I had a letter of apology which said it wasn't their (The CRB's) fault."

In an incredible display of arrogance and PR ineptitude the Home Office not only defended itself against accusations of incompetence and maladministration but said it was doing the right thing!

It said the errors happened when a job applicant's details were similar to criminals whose records were on its database. Well, yes. That is obvious. The question is why are the details on the CRB database so inadequate that such false positives occur? Also why doesn't the CRB go further in checking job applicant's details to rule out such mis-identification?

Basically because it thinks these false positives, this state identity theft, doesn't matter. The Education Secretary, Alan Johnson, (why him?) informed the BBC that only 0.03% of the nine million "disclosures" the agency makes had been wrong and the matter had to be seen in 'contect'. The identity theft only happened in 'a tiny proportion of cases'. Errors were 'regrettable' but the CRB would not apologise for its 'caution.'

What amazing arrogance and stupidity.

This is yet another example of grotesquely bad Home Office mal-administration.

It is also an example of stored information about people being inadequate and the use of that information being stupidly incompetent. In effect the government agency involved, the CRB, is holding potentially duplicate records where people on its database are not properly separated from others with similar names. It gives perfectly innocent people a false identity, one of a criminal, and then says its not responsible if they lose job offers.

Yes it is. And, yes, it should be fined and the affected person compensated. The state should not be seen as an arrogant, uncaring machine, trampling the rights and concerns of the citizens it is serving under its size fifteen clod-hopping boots just because customer satisfaction with the CRB is at an 'all time high' and it only happens in a small majority of cases and people can apply to see what is held on its database about them.

What utter drivel. The CRB head should be wrongly - or rightly perhaps - identified as another person who is a selfish, blind, prejudiced clown and then sacked from the job he's carrying out so spectacularly badly.