Based on this description of his clothing officers asked to speak to the man. He pulled away from officers despite being asked to stand still and remain calm. The officers suspected he was seeking to escape so he was physically restrained.
It was quickly established the man was in fact not connected to the suspected cloned vehicle and he was allowed to go on his way shortly afterwards.
At the same time and in the immediate vicinity, another set of officers detained a second man whose clothing matched the same description. He was arrested, interviewed and released under investigation.
The circumstances surrounding the detention of the first man, including the use of handcuffs and incapacitant spray, are now subject of an ongoing investigation. Essex Police has made a voluntary referral to the Independent Office of Police Conduct in relation this.
Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet said:
“We were searching for someone who had run from a suspicious car after failing to stop for police. At that stage, our officers had a description of his clothing, but not of the man himself. They initially detained the wrong person and we’re taking steps to get in touch with him to offer our apologies for this case of mistaken identity.”