Police paid more than £480,000 for crash details

ACCIDENT Police at a scene of a crash
ACCIDENT Police at a scene of a crash
Matthew Cobden arrives at Winchester Crown Court. Picture: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

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HAMPSHIRE police have strongly defended receiving money from insurance companies for passing on information about road incidents.

A senior officer in the force described the claim that the force is paid by companies for crash victims’ details as ‘categorically untrue’.

It follows reports in the national press yesterday that Hampshire Constabulary has received more than £480,000 since 2010.

Officers have stressed that the money only covers administrative costs.

Acting Superintendent Henry Parsons, of the Joint Roads Policing Unit for Hampshire Constabulary and Thames Valley Police, said: ‘The suggestion that we are paid by claims management companies for collision victim details is categorically untrue.

‘Under the provisions of the Road Traffic Act, forces provide police reports to insurance companies in order for them to process their customers’ claims.

‘Between 2010 and 2012 ,the total amount Hampshire Constabulary charged insurance companies for such documents was £480,000.

‘The force receives hundreds of these requests every year and the charges are applied in order to recoup our costs. This process, and the charges associated to it, are governed by a national agreement between insurance companies and police forces. Taxpayers should not be expected to foot the bill for collision reports requested on behalf of insurers which is why any cost incurred using public funds is refunded to the force.’

He added: ‘To say we “made” £480,000 profit doing this is inaccurate. This was, in fact, recovery of costs on behalf of the taxpayer.’

He said that the force also paid out for the recovery of vehicles after crashes in order to keep the roads open.

The cost of the removal is recouped by the police from the driver, normally via the insurance company.

Supt Parsons added: ‘The recovery operators are contracted and subject to confidentiality conditions and the provisions of the Data Protection Act.

‘They may not disclose information about motorists to third parties.’