I was going to send this weeks newsletter about a scare campaign in the media recently, telling Motorists that you can be fined £1000 for warning other Drivers about mobile speed traps ahead…
However, I just had to tell you about what happened to me on Saturday when an off duty Policeman tried to pull me over…
I was taking the family to a park in London for an afternoon out.
On the way, we were sitting in a long line of stationary traffic when I spotted a less congested way, which required me to turn around.
So I waited for the traffic lights to turn red (so that there was no traffic coming the other way), then safely — and completely legally — made a U-turn.
Well, a Silver BMW estate appeared out of a side turning and had to briefly wait before accelerating.
Rather than simply waiting for a second or two like a reasonable person would, he aggressively sounded his horn.
I looked in my rear view mirror and shook my head at him.
Actually, it was lucky I had my Mrs and little girl in the car otherwise I may have been tempted to give him a bit of a defensive driving demo (which obviously isn’t right, but I would have found funny…).
Anyway, the next thing I know, he’s pulled up along side with his window down shouting abuse. This guy was extremely aggressive.
I wound the window down and very calmly said “you’re driving like a t**t mate” then wound it back up.
The next thing and this guy is driving along side my car fumbling around for something.
When he found it — with no hands on the wheel — he starting waiving a badge at me and gesticulating with his other hand.
I again wound down the passenger window and he said “I am a Police Officer. Pull over!”.
I thought to myself that there is no way I’m stopping for this bully while I have my family in the car.
I again shook my head at him and calmly said “go away”.
I didn’t wind the window down again but instead — admittedly in a slightly patronising way because he was getting on my nerves by this point! — waived him on while mouthing “go…away”.
He then floored the accelerator of his car, swerved in front of mine, and then off in to the distance, having suffered a defeat in the battle of wills he had instigated.
As soon as we arrived at the park, I googled what a Police ID looks like and sure enough, it was the same as this chap had shown me.
I did a bit of research and it seems that it’s not that uncommon for off duty Police to try to settle personal vendettas by abusing their Police ID on the road and trying to intimidate people in to pulling over.
A friend of mine was even pulled over — quite illegally — a few years back by a Military Policeman on the M3! When he demanded the Officers name, he jumped in his car and drove off!
Can an off duty Police Officer pull you over?
No. If they are off duty and not in a marked Police car (or an undercover Police car with hidden blue flashing lights), they have no more legal right to pull you over than you have to them over.
Moral of the story?
Don’t be scared of bullies!
And if an off duty officer in an unmarked car — i.e. with no undercover blue lights — tries to pull you over, politely tell them where they can go…
All the best,