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WJBD - National News - Customs Officers May Not Look Too Closely at Passport Photos

Customs Officers May Not Look Too Closely at Passport Photos

iStock/Thinkstock(YORK, England) -- Customs officers are not always infallible when matching faces to photos in passports, a new study has concluded.

Co-authors Mike Burton from the University of Aberdeen and University of York psychology researcher Rob Jenkins said that 27 Australian customs officers incorrectly accepted a person with a different photo than was on the passport 14 percent of the time.

Meanwhile, they rejected people whose faces correctly matched the photo six percent of the time.

In a separate test, the officers were asked to match a current photo with one taken two years earlier. They were wrong one out of five times in this experiment.

Jenkins said this high rate of failure suggests that thousands of passengers with fake passports could be getting through London's Heathrow Airport each year.

He and Burton said that training is basically useless when it comes to getting faces and photos right all the time. They said people should be hired who are innately better at identifying faces.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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