The insurance industry's efforts to combat fraud are being hindered by the failure of one of the UK's largest police forces to release crime reports on time.

The West Midlands constabulary has admitted that it will take as long as seven months for them to provide information requested by insurers and loss adjusters on reported crimes.

This is despite the fact that the ABI and the Association of Chief Police Officers have agreed that such information should be provided within 20 days.

The reports are often requested when fraud is suspected.

Philip Swift, director of loss adjuster Claims Management & Adjusting, which specialises in vehicle claims, said the delay makes it harder for the insurance industry to spot fraudsters.

"It makes it more difficult to identify and resist fraudulent claims. We need to have access to the reports - not getting anything for seven months is too long."

ABI head of financial crime prevention Chris Hannant said: "The delay is causing problems for our members as it is an important part of the verification process. We are looking into the problem".

A spokesman for the West Midlands Police attributed the delay to "staff limitations, the recent dramatic increase in the number of applications from insurance companies, and the fact that insurance companies often complete initial applications incorrectly".

He added that the department's resources were being "reviewed".