For those of us working as theft and fraud investigators in the automobile sector of this industry, we are now experiencing a tighter control of information from county constabularies.

The Data Protection Act (DPA) is being used to prevent us from confirming a crime reference number to reveal the location of an un-recovered stolen vehicle.

A recent example of this which I experienced was with Lincolnshire police, who would not give me the location of a stolen burned-out vehicle.

When I asked the civilian/officer why, I was told it was in contravention of the DPA. To give me the location deprived the burned-out vehicle of its privacy.

If the police continue to make use of the DPA to deprive theft investigators of the means to conduct their work, the car thief and the fraudulent claim will stand little chance of being investigated and discovered.

As this dilemma for us gets more widely known on the streets, those who wish to file false theft claims will know that nothing can be verified by an insurance investigator.

As the situation in automotive theft claims has been spiralling out of control, it is time for companies to join forces and sort this monumental problem out as soon as possible.

Richard Heritage
Senior theft investigator
Hastings Insurance Services

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