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 david.simister@champnews.com
Tuesday, 10 May 2011 (3014839)
Claim struggle due to police data rules
by David Simister


A CRAWFORD woman had to fight to get the insurance details of an alleged drink driver who destroyed her garden wall - because of police data protection rules.

Laura Austin told The Champion yesterday (May 10) that her property was among several in the village which had been damaged after a driver lost control of the car he was driving at last Friday night (May 6), but said that her efforts to get the driver's insurance details for compensation because of data protection rules.

She said that she had been encountering difficulties obtaining the registration number of the car until a police officer visited her father with the car details, a few hours after The Champion approached Lancashire Constabulary for more information about the incident.

“Skelmersdale Police we where told attended quickly and they managed to find the driver hiding in the field, and took him back to custody.

”I have been told he refused to give a breath/blood sample and just before the police interview him he was complaining of chest pains so had to be taken to hospital.

“I have since been told by the police officer who attended that the driver was obviously over the drink drive limit,” she said.

“The main problem we are having is getting vehicle information from the police they are saying this is personal data, but I can not see how.

”I do not want to know where this person lives or his name all I want to know is his vehicle registration, who he is insured with and a policy number so we can claim for ours and our neighbours damaged property.“

She said that she was made aware of the accident at around 7am the following morning and had been told that the driver involved in the accident was allegedly driving while over the legal drink drive limit.

”The garden wall of her home on Crawford Road was destroyed after the car hit a nearby skip which then ploughed towards her property, and a neighbouring home and a nearby parked car were also damaged in the incident.

However she said that while she has been told by her neighbours that the driver lives locally, she has so far been unable to get any details to make an insurance claim, and said that it was due to Lancashire Constabulary not being able to pass over personal data.

Inspector Sue Swift, Geographic Inspector for the Skelmersdale area said: “An investigation has been launched following the incident that took place on Friday. May 6 in Crawford Village.

”A 49 year old man has been arrested on suspicion of drink driving and has been released on police bail pending further enquiries. The investigating officer is keeping all parties concerned updated throughout the process.

“The Road Traffic Act 1998, Section 170, allows us to be able to pass on details to third parties for insurance purposes but prior to this happening, we have to have evidence as to who was driving a vehicle. Once this has been established then we will be able to pass these details on.”






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