MORE than insurance 400 policies have been cancelled or voided thanks to an inspired initiative to disrupt criminal activity.

Since starting in 2018, North Wales Police’s Operation Confine has targeted criminals by identifying and prosecuting those involved in vehicle insurance application fraud.

It’s a criminal offence to fail to disclose material information such as unspent convictions when asked by insurance companies. However, Op Confine isn’t about checking whether an individual has forgotten to mention a minor road traffic offence a number of years ago, it’s very much aimed that those who cause the most harm to our communities and use the road network to facilitate their criminal activities.

Inspector Dave Cust said: “With increased police use of modern technology, nowadays criminals are forced to insure cars to try and avoid unwanted attention but will often be dishonest about their unspent criminal or motoring history, knowing they would be unable to obtain cover or have to pay for the increased risk they can present to the wider public.

“When we suspect offences are being committed, we make enquires into whether that particular insurance company have been provided with accurate and truthful information by the policy holder.

“To date, we have caused considerable disruption to criminality through these enquiries.”

“Historically, motor trade policies have often been misused to insure fleets of vehicles but these policies have many restrictions that offenders can fall foul of.

“By exposing offences, a cancelled policy restricts their activities and makes it increasingly harder for them to obtain cover elsewhere. If they continue to drive without insurance, that then makes it even easier for us to catch to them.”

Craig Conlon, Fraud Manager at AXA Insurance said, “Criminals use all sorts of vehicles, including some that are insured under trade policies, and they usually drive with little regard for road safety. Serious crime thus has a cost that goes beyond financial consequences: it critically affects many lives. Our collaboration with Op Confine is one method of combating and disrupting serious crime.”

The disruption doesn’t end with a cancellation or voidance. Where appropriate, offenders will be prosecuted.

To date, 16 convictions have been secured which have resulted in a number of prison terms for fraud or making a false statement to obtain insurance and also driving disqualifications and there are many more pending.

Convicted offenders include burglars, violent offenders, fraudsters and drug dealers.

Inspector Cust added: “Most criminals need to drive and we’ve seen significant members of Organised Crime Groups disqualified so they can’t show off the proceeds of their illegal activities.

Rhyl Journal:

“Hiring luxury vehicles is increasingly popular; this Lamborghini was seized in March after it was found the driver was in breach of the hire policy which specifically excluded drivers with certain unspent convictions.”

Operation Confine has attracted a lot of interest from other UK forces as they seek innovative new ways to disrupt and tackle serious organised crime.

The Motor Insurers Bureau, Insurance Fraud Bureau and the insurance industry as a whole are hugely supportive of the initiative.