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Minister meets Leeds victim of car cloning

Following an intervention by Greg Mulholland, Member of Parliament for North West Leeds, Home Office Minister Nick Herbert agreed to meet Mr Altaf Sadique, a client of Jeremy Barnett yesterday 11th January 2011 following complaints about refusals by a number of police authorities to deal with complaints of persisitent ‘car cloning’.

Mr Sadique has appealed to the Home Office Minister having received at least 25 parking and congestion tickets from across the UK. The fines have all resulted in one case of cloning of Mr Sadique’s number plate, yet each police authority has declined to investigate the case, leaving Mr Sadique in the unfortunate position where he was unable to get a police crime report number.

This case left Mr Sadique in an unfortunate ‘kafkaesque’ loop where he could not appeal against the fines because he couldnt prove that he was the victim of cloning as various police authorities declined to take up the case by issuing a crime report. One one occasion Mr Sadique was asked to prove that his car had not been resprayed, so had to obtain confirmation from the dealers who supplied his vehicle that he had not interefered with it.

Mr Sadique, frustrated by an inabiltity to persuade various police authorities, contacted his local Member of Parliament, Greg Mulholland who raised the issue in the House of Commons in a parlimentary question. Following this intervention, a meeting took place with Mr Herbert who has agreed to look into the case and Mr Sadique’s general concerns about the lacuna that has arisen where the police decline to issue a crime report, thereby causing difficulties for people who have been the victims of crime who wish to deal with their insurers, and regulatory bodies such has happened in this case.

Speaking to the BBC yesterday, Mr Sadique said “We had a deluge of fines, all for times we hadn’t been in London and places we’d definitely not visited, when you cant provide a crime reference number you are treated with suspicion’.

The case raises interesting questions as to what a member of the public can do where the police decline to investigate. Forcing the police to investigate by the issue of judicial review proceedings is an expensive and inappropriate remedy in cases involving low value transactions/allegations such as occurred in this case.

As the financial pressures mount on overpressed police authorities, steps need to be taken to ensure that the public are able to obtain the assistance where they have become the victims of crime. Possible solutions would be an investment by the Home Office in a cloud based database to permit vicitms to log their crimes on the internet regardless of police area, or the introduction of powers giving members of the public the right to go before a Magistrate to insist on their crimes being properly investigated.   

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