Blackburn MP Jack Straw criticises police forces for selling road crash details (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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Blackburn MP Jack Straw criticises police forces for selling road crash details
POLICE forces have received millions of pounds for passing on details of road accident victims to claims management companies.
Now Blackburn MP Jack Straw, who has campaigned against such moves because they force up premiums, described the practice as “completely unacceptable”.
Official figures obtained in a freedom of information request from car insurance firm LV= revealed a number of police forces have shared the details in exchange for a fee.
At present it is not against the law to pass on the contact details of accident victims to other service providers with the victims’ consent.
But legislation due to be implemented in April will see a ban on the payment and receipt of referral fees in personal injury cases and will cap lawyers’ fees on successful claims.
The Metropolitan Police has received more than £5 million from third parties since 2009 for the contact details of people involved in road traffic accidents. Hampshire Constabulary has received more than £480,000 since 2010 for this information while Fife Constabulary has made £194,000.
Former home secretary Mr Straw said that although he was unaware of the practice happening within Lancashire Police, the passing on of information nationally was pushing up people’s premiums.
He said: “It is completely unacceptable.
“Police forces justify this on the grounds that there is a cost associated with investigations but I am afraid it is a basic public service that they should be providing.
“It is bad enough having an accident without being hassled by a claims management company afterwards.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “Lancashire Police does not sell on victims’ details to insurance companies.”