Arrest is linked to year-long investigation by specialist Metropolitan Police unit

An Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) investigation into a ‘crash for cash’ gang led to a Metropolitan Police dawn raid today in Luton, making this the 1000th arrest the IFB has assisted with.

The Met’s police unit, Operation Catcher, is a small specialised team of detectives dedicated to investigating organised criminal gangs who cause collisions with innocent road users for the purpose of committing fraud.

The arrest today was made as a result of information given to the unit by the IFB.

Metropolitan Police detective inspector David Hindmarsh said: “This morning’s arrest is linked to an organised criminal gang we have been investigating for over a year now, and is just one of many joint IFB operations we are currently undertaking.

“Members of the public should be aware that this is not a victimless crime and anyone becoming involved in fraud risks being arrested, prosecuted and ultimately receiving a criminal record.”

IFB director Ben Fletcher said: “Our focus is on using our unique range of data to identify organised frauds that are not visible to individual insurers.

“That’s what really makes the 1,000th arrest significant; we believe these people aren’t opportunists, but are actively involved in organised scams raking in millions of pounds.”

The IFB’s assisted arrest also comes weeks after the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) made its 500th arrest in June, when detectives investigating multiple travel insurance claims for missing jackets and bags filled with valuables apprehended a man in London.

ABI financial crime committee chair and LV= managing director general insurance John O’Roarke said: “The IFB and IFED are our response to the menace that is insurance fraud.

“This criminality impacts on our economy, costs the insurance industry billions of pounds, hits honest policyholders in the pocket and, in some cases, puts innocent lives at risk. The message to anyone committing insurance fraud is simple: you will be found out and you will be arrested.”