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THE HEAD OF one of the UK’s largest police forces has invited insurers to help and invest in combating fraud and other criminal activity.
In a speech to the Insurance Institute of Manchester, Peter Fahy, chief constable of Greater Manchester Police indicated his support for the idea of law enforcement working more closely with the private sector and ‘outsourcing’ certain services.
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“We’ve got to save £138m from our budget,” said Mr Fahy. “We are saving insurance industry money [through our investigations of crash for cash, fraud etc] is there no way we can’t work together more?”
Mr Fahy’s suggestion was responded to by Axa’s commercial lines CEO Amanda Blanc, who pointed out that the industry had already invested around £4m to help fund a dedicated anti-fraud unit at the City of London Police.
GMP was one of the constabularies most affected by last August’s riots as people went on the rampage in Manchester and neighbouring Salford. Mr Fahy added that claims brought against the police under the Riot (Damages) Act made him believe the legislation should be abolished. “It’s over 150 years old and has no relevance today. I had no problem with uninsured business owners but large corporates were claiming under this law.”
Mr Fahy’s suggestion prompted a response from the industry with Axa Insurance director of claims and underwriting David Williams tweeting shortly afterwards:
— David Williams (@AXADavidW) March 10, 2012
Comment: Mr Fahy’s stance on outsourcing will not sit well with everyone, and he was keen to emphasise that lines will have to be drawn regarding aspects of police work or operations that can be taken over by the private sector. However, it’s not inconceivable that insurers could eventually bid for contracts or provide services to the police. So many former police have entered the private sector’s burgeoning market for investigations work anyway so there’s already a body of professionals with an intimate understanding of police procedure. However, Mr Fahy did indicate that investigations would be an area jealously guarded by existing police forces; it will be interesting to see what suggestions are placed on the table.