David Cameron has promised to speak to the Home Secretary about a case involving a West Yorkshire man who was imprisoned for three days after being wrongly arrested by the county’s police force.
The Prime Minister told the House of Commons today he would ask Theresa May to look into Mohammed Naved Bashir’s situation.
Mr Bashir has now launched a civil claim against West Yorkshire Police after being taken to court in Glasgow accused of fraud before officers realised their error.
West Yorkshire Police today admitted Mr Bashir was arrested in error, but say their officers acted in good faith after the Police National Computer (PNC) database incorrectly showed he was the subject of an outstanding warrant.
The force said: “Although we may not have been responsible for Mr Bashir’s distressing experience, we very much regret our involvement and a senior officer will be meeting with him personally.”
Conservative Craig Whittaker (Calder Valley) raised the topic during Prime Minister’s Questions. He said: “Mr Mohammed Naved Bashir, a constituent in the Calder Valley, was arrested in December despite pointing out on numerous occasions he had a different name to the man they were wanting.
“They held him in prison cells in Halifax for three days and it was only confirmed that indeed they had arrested the wrong person when he was transported and presented to a judge in Glasgow.
“Will you ask the Home Secretary to look into this case and perhaps supply some answers to questions which Mr Bashir is not getting from the police.”
Mr Cameron replied: “This does sound a very concerning case. My understanding is that West Yorkshire Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the arrest and detention of Mr Bashir.
“I can’t give the House specifics in this case because it does involve ongoing legal action, but I will discuss it with the Home Secretary.
“One option would be for Mr Bashir to make a formal complaint to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
“Let me try and get him some more information about that.”
West Yorkshire Police today released a statement from Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom about the incident.
Mr Milsom said: “Mr Bashir was in a vehicle stopped by a West Yorkshire Police Traffic patrol. Upon checks being made, the Police National Computer (PNC) showed that Mr Bashir was subject of an outstanding warrant for failing to appear at court in Scotland.
“A roadside fingerprint check verified Mr Bashir as the person circulated as wanted on warrant by Police Scotland.
“In accordance with normal procedures, he was detained at Halifax Police Station for Police Scotland to collect and transport him, which they did some 26 hours after his arrest.
“He was then transported to Scotland where he was further detained until the next available court.
“It was only upon his appearance at court, that it was established he was not the suspect wanted for failing to appear and that Mr Bashir had been circulated in error, as wanted on the PNC.
“Mr Bashir was an entirely innocent party and has been wrongfully arrested and detained in custody.
“However West Yorkshire Police were not responsible for the error that led to his arrest, with our subsequent actions being conducted unaware of the error and in good faith.
“We have responded to Mr Bashir’s solicitors outlining the circumstances and suggesting they may wish to raise the matter further with Police Scotland.
“Although we may not have been responsible for Mr Bashir’s distressing experience, we very much regret our involvement and a senior officer will be meeting with him personally.”