Police do "u-turn" on stopping for un-marked cars on motorways

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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