Officer, you’ve got my car keys
Date published: 20 January 2014
POLICE have apologised to a young motorist who was left stranded at a busy roundabout after officers drove off with his car keys.
Mohammed Hoque (20) was with friends in a high-performance car when they were pulled over by a police van at the roundabout linking the A62 Manchester Road and Hollins Road, Hollinwood, near the M60.
An officer conducting a routine stop “snatched” the car keys and later drove away with them.
Mohammed Ahmed (22), who was with the group, criticised Greater Manchester Police for the officers’ unusual behaviour.
Mr Ahmed (22), from Hurst Street, Oldham, said: “The police van came from behind and stopped us. An officer came out, put his hand through the open window and helped himself to the keys. He grabbed them and said ‘you won’t be needing these for now’.
“I asked him why he’d taken the keys because it was cold outside and the car windows were down — but he didn’t respond.
“He then took details from the driver. My friend asked why he had been pulled over and the officer said he wanted to check we were insured.
“We asked if they did this to every driver. He took a few more details and went back into the van. After five minutes he came back, took some more details and went back to the van.
“I saw the officer smirking and sinking into his seat in the police van. Then, all of a sudden, the van set off, still with the car keys.
“I called the police on 101 and explained what had happened. The police van was out of view for 8-10 minutes. We had no keys and the car windows were locked open. We couldn’t drive it or leave it.
“When the police van returned, the officer just came to the window and passed back the car keys. He didn’t bother getting out. He said ‘ha ha, where are you going to go without your car keys?’ They’d taken our keys for no reason and never apologised.
“We switched drivers because the first driver was fed up after being stopped. The police then stopped us again to ask if the second driver was insured.
“I’ve been pulled over before. It happens when we’re in cars the police think we shouldn’t be driving.
I want the police inspectors to speak to this officer. Do these guys just think they can stop people and take their keys?”
Mr Ahmed, a dental technology graduate, and Mr Hoque, who works for a family business, were in a VW Golf R32 with friends.
Chief Inspector Andrew Harty said: “Mr Ahmed’s complaint has been fully looked into. The stop was routine and the keys removed as a precaution. The taking of the keys was a genuine mistake. As soon as this was realised the officers returned and handed them back.
“The car was stopped a second time because another person was seen driving the vehicle and during their initial checks the officers were not informed that anyone else was insured to drive it.
“Once this was verified the group went on their way.
The officers have apologised for inadvertently taking the keys and I have passed this apology on to Mr Ahmed. I absolutely refute any suggestion the car was deliberately targeted.”
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