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Drivers urged not to stop for anything other than marked police vehicle

Unmarked police car, Essex Police.

Essex Police is advising motorists not to pull over if requested to do so by anything other than a marked police vehicle.

The warning follows a second theft between junctions 28 and 27 on the anti-clockwise M25 at around 2.10pm on Monday, July 25.

In similar circumstances to a theft which occurred on the M11 on Saturday, July 23, a silver Ford Mondeo equipped with blue flashing light requested a grey Volkswagen Transporter van to pull over.

Three male occupants purporting to be police officers made the driver get out of the vehicle. No weapons were seen but one of the men had handcuffs.

Two of the men then got in to the van and both vehicles drove off. The driver did not get the index number of the Mondeo. The stolen vehicle was registration RE16 UCV.

On Saturday, July 23, between junctions seven and eight on the M11 at Hatfield Heath a white Mercedes Sprinter van was stolen after four men in a silver Ford Mondeo stopped it purporting to be police officers. One of these men was armed with a firearm. This Mondeo was registration LO62 FOU and the stolen Mercedes van KR60 NHZ. The two occupants of this van were also left at the side of the road unharmed.

DCI Stuart Smith from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, who is leading both investigations due to their similarities, said: "In a direct response to these incidents occurring a direction has been given to our officers that they should not, unless in emergency circumstances, be in an unmarked car and attempt to stop a driver.

“We have taken this decision to safeguard motorists in Essex while these offenders remain outstanding.

“Our victims have told us that the suspects are purporting to be police officers and are wearing body armour to further enhance this deception in order to steal these vans.”

Anyone who is signalled at to stop by someone in a car which may appear to be an unmarked police is asked not to stop, but to use a hands-free to call 999 immediately to verify whether the vehicle and its occupants are genuine.

Anyone with any information about either of these incidents is asked to contact Essex Police on 101.

The police has reviewed its guidance since this story was first published, click here to read more

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  • Bianca Castafiore - 03/08/2016 13:54

    Should we all print off this article such that when we attempt to evade the unmarked police car at 2.30am in the morning we can merely quote DCI Stuart Smith's statement to the two beefy officers that are about to spray pepper in out eyes and hit us with tazers.....? I can see it now - 'Yes m'Lud, my client wishes all charges to be dropped because he read it in a comic that he was not to stop for any unmarked police car even though he was doing 130mph with four bald tyres and no MOT....'

  • SimplyJ - 04/08/2016 07:38

    Officers of the law should be clearly seen to be so and respected as such. They have a responsibility to represent the law accurately and should not be afraid of being recognised!! Underhand methods will readily be taken on by the underworld.

  • Caz - 07/08/2016 12:52

    unhappily for your comment it's also on the essex police's website, always best to check before commenting taken from this web address https://www.essex.police.uk/news/news-and-features/2016/07jul/update-drivers-urged-to-remain-alert-but-stop-for/ In an emergency always dial 999 Home News News and features UPDATE: Drivers urged to remain alert but stop for unmarked police cars Latest news UPDATE: Drivers urged to remain alert but stop for unmarked police cars 26 JUL 2016 UPDATE: 12.15pm on Wednesday, August 3, 2016 Detectives and roads policing officers at Essex Police have reviewed the guidance offered to motorists regarding stopping for unmarked police cars following two vehicle robberies on the county’s motorways. We advised drivers not to stop if requested to do so by a vehicle which appeared to be an unmarked police car after two robberies on the M11 on Saturday, July 23 and on the M25 on Monday, July 25. In each case the offending vehicle was a silver Ford Mondeo which was equipped with blue flashing lights making it appear to be an unmarked police car. DCI Stuart Smith of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate (SCD) and lead investigator for the incidents said: “My team of detectives have reviewed the circumstances of both incidents and alongside the intelligence have concluded the risk to motorists in cars is low. That does not mean that the only risk is to van drivers, but the only vehicles which have so far been stolen are vans. My advice to drivers of vans in particular is to remain alert and vigilant and try and establish whether unmarked vehicles are genuine with our control room whilst remaining compliant with the police vehicle before stopping if you are concerned. “From today, Wednesday, August 3, we will be returning to using unmarked police vehicles on the county’s roads which will at times have cause to stop drivers. “Since the two motorway incidents there have been no further reports of vehicle robberies in the county prompting us to review this matter.” Investigations in to both robberies is continuing any anyone with information is asked to contact detectives at the SCD on 101 or email scdappeals@essex.pnn.police.uk In respect of calling 999 while driving Chief Insp Nick Lee, head of roads policing, said: “The law states that you cannot use your mobile phone whilst driving, however, we have discretion we can apply and if someone is in genuine fear of their life we would take a sensible approach in those circumstances.”

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