The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that removal of keys from the ignition of a patrol car when an officer got out of it, would have prevented theft of the car and two Glock pistols.
On 14 August 2019, the man drove past two officers in a car that was missing its front grill and number plate. Officers caught up with him when he stopped in a residential street. They parked behind him, and the man reversed ramming the front of the Police car before getting out and running into a residential property. Two officers chased him.
As he ran back onto the street, the man got into the driver's seat of the patrol car, which still had its keys in the ignition. The key to the car firearm safe was on the same key ring. Despite efforts by the officers to stop him, the man was able to drive away. He rammed a second Police car before abandoning the patrol car in a nearby street. He took with him two Glock pistols from the locked box in the patrol car.
The man was arrested three days later. One of the pistols was recovered at the time of his arrest, and the other one was located three months later.
"The officer was focused on apprehending the offender in a fast-moving situation. He inadvertently forgot to remove his keys from the patrol car, which unfortunately enabled the man to steal the car and the pistols locked in it," said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.
At the time of the incident, there was no specific policy requiring officers to remove ignition keys when leaving a Police car unoccupied. Since this incident, Police have identified actions to undertake to minimise the chance of offenders gaining access to Police vehicles and firearms.