Part of the prtoblem of this record keeping is the disconnect. UK residents and citizens pop up in lots of databases. NHS HMRC Electoral Roll Council Tax DVLA TV Licensing DHSS - or whatever it's called these days And then you have the police. The police have a huge problem all of their own (making) just by themsleves. However their problems are not dissimilar to the problem of joining up the other databases. So for example if you are 'John Smith' it's really hard to join up the different records - your health, tax, driving licence, etc. You can make assumptions that this 'John Smith' is the same as that 'John Smith' if you have decent matches for things like birth date and address. However information gets misentered and becomes out of date. There are a lot of residents in the country so even if 5% of the database records have bad or out of date information then you have a huge problem. Now in principle if you have an ID number that is used across all these databases a lot of the problems disappear. In practice - remember this is the UK - and the government and its agencies and police will just mess up an ID system and screw over the taxpayer big time, yet again.