Police earn millions for breakdown tips

* Forces earn cash from recovery firms * Helps to push up insurance premiums * West Midlands police earned 600,000 in 2009...

Police earn millions for breakdown tips

Police forces are collecting millions of pounds from tip-offs to car-recovery firms and helping to push up insurance premiums for the rest of us.

The police earn the cash by tipping off recovery companies that remove broken-down and crashed vehicles from the UKs roads. The firms then give police forces an administration fee after they pick up.

Rewards can be anything from 5-25, but insurers say the use of police as 'middle-men' is needlessly helping to push up already soaring insurance premiums.

Figures reveal that, during 2009, West Midlands Police received more than 600,000 in payments from recovery contractors a cost that is passed on by the contractors to insurers and ultimately drivers.

Manchester police are reported to have referred nearly 33,000 cars to recovery firms attracting a figure that could easily exceed the cash given to West Midlands Police.

However, the UKs largest force, the Metropolitan Police, did not receive any fees.

Insurers are advising drivers to call their insurance company as soon as possible after an accident or breakdown, which could help avoid such costs.