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Off duty Police tried to pull me over!

Dear All,

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”.

He persisted.

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,

Adam

Comments 57

  1. Good on you, I have been coming to the obvious conclusion that a large amout of police officers are just that bullies, part of the reason there in that line of work from the of.

    1. Respect to you for showing restraint, and what a dick for trying to pull rank as he should have known better. Good job the missus was not on her own with kids. Hope it did not spoil your day. Obviously not taken in his advance driver training.

    2. I didn’t know you couldn’t be pulled over by an off duty copper! I would’ve pulled over. Not now though . Your emails are brilliant!

    3. Well done and now i know how i can respond. Often if I accelerate from say traffic lights with two lanes male drivers hate me beating them of the mark then try and challenge me but I quite often get ahead and wave depending on the road but then sometimes when two lanes go into one and they are hanging behind I slow down and let them go past then give them a smile and a wave or blow them a kiss to ..make them feel better. Never had the off duty police thing though. I have know an off duty police man who did the full take you to the floor at a pre wedding evening just because his brother the groom had issues with this 50+ man who actual had high blood pressure so they were lucky he did not suffer any serious effects from their attack on him.

  2. Excellent.. !!
    I would have done the same… or worse..
    Don’t think he would have survived a contest with my Porsche.. 🙂
    S.

    1. A race was the last thing you should have done, as he was a thug and idiot, it would have ended badly – and probably given him the justification he wanted to nick you.

  3. Should have reported him for a number of driving offences he committed at the time with evidence from your dash cam (assuming you’ve got 2 way).

  4. Quite happy to be corrected if I’m wrong. But thought even if it’s an unmarked car ,(or van) unless they are in uniform they cannot request you to stop. Anyone could have hidden blue lights behind the grill of any car. Happened to a friend recently. She was asked by an unmarked car to pull over. While the driver was showing some form of ID. She had the foresight to ring the police to confirm the identity of the patrol car before she stopped. And it was confirmed that there wasn’t an officer at her location.

    1. So what happened then? But so well done checking you have just shown how we can be fooled by rip off make out to be’s. Hard to know what is real or not these days. Just thankful we have mobile phones these days so we can and should check on these things now more than ever.

  5. Should have reported him for a number of driving offences he committed at the time with evidence from your dash cam (assuming you’ve got 2 way).

  6. You can buy blue lights for vehicles on Ebay. If your ever Nicked for failing to stop by an Unmarked car. This would be a defence in Law. Also, How were You to KNOW if the vehicle & occupants were genuine? If they are outside of your vehicle, you CAN say. ‘I will follow you to the nearest Police Station. & then see thier reaction!….

    1. Typical police harassment he needs reporting, I got stopped by them in uniform one night and they made up faults about the car which were untrue. I took the car to a garage next day and all faults were unfounded. As I had his number I reported him to the station sergeant
      Unofficially and said if he stopped me again I would make it official, as I didnt want to be a a target.

  7. The irony is had you stopped and spoken to him he would have ended up in much more trouble than you as he would have faced disciplinary action. You were right though engaging with someone who has road rage is a dangerous thing to do. I wanted to report a police officer for agressively tailgating me into a speed limit in an attempt to make me break it, I resisted though but when I found out it was a Police car I was very angry, I was warned by friends if I did so my car would be marked for the future so it wasn’t worth it.

  8. Bullied at school, in a constant state of anger and feel the need to get their own back….SAD!

    At first glance i read it as ” pulled you off” rather than ”pulled you over”

    Now that would have been something to complain about 🙂

  9. I was coming back from London, a motorbike overtook me going pretty fast, I was cruising around 70 at the time, then increased my speed the motorbike kept slowing down & then speeding up, I got fed up with him and when he moved over again I overtook him and went up to about 90 odd. He came after me pulled up along side me & was pointing to a badge on his helmet. I put my foot down again and he chased after me, I slowed back down to let him go but he was waving at me to pull over, then a real police bike came up behind, put his lights on and told me to pull over, I comlplied and we all went down the slip road and stopped. The first bike pulled up & jumped off so I got out the car, the man asked me why I would not pull over for him & why did I speed up as he said I am a Police Officer. I replied how the hell was I to know that you are a police man, he said I was pointing at my badge on my helmet, I said how the hell I am suppose to see that little badge and why are you not riding a police bike & in uniform like your mate behind. I told him I was worried that he was a just a nutter on the road and thats why I shot off to get away from him. I was very polite, he took my licence & gave it to the real policebike man & they checked me out & let me go on my way. Just before I left I said that what he had done was very dangerous and he should not be doing that sort of stuff unless he is on a real police bike & in uniform, they both just laughed & told me to be on my way.

  10. This happened to me several years ago. I was in the London area sitting in a queue of slowly moving moving peak time traffic where the road reduced from 3 lanes to 2. Most people were being sensible and taking their turn to merge into the queue. I was in the lane that continued and the other two lanes merged into one. A car forced its way from behind me through the middle between my car and another car and actually nudged my bumper. When I wound my window down to protest this idiot in ordinary clothes flashed what appeared to be a warrant card and threatened me with the loss of my licence if I didn’t get out of his way. The car didn’t appear to be an unmarked police car as it was quite old and not very clean. No siren or lights and once he had pushed his way through he didn’t have anywhere to go in the jam in any case. Just some idiot abusing his power. I was temped to take his number and report him but who knows what problems that might cause. As I say, it was a long time ago but I’d report it if it happened now.

  11. The advice about going to a Police station when someone tries to stop you is very valid. I had a similar aggressive driver flashing ID and indicating me to stop. He was still ranting when I drove into the police station and even when the two police came out. It ended up as mistaken identity and a police lecture to him. They also noted the event in case he returned.

    There are various car stealing scams that use a similar activity.

    Don’t argue at the roadside go to a place of safety first. As a last resort all motorway services have active CCTV to evidence this violence.

    1. Where do you find a manned police station. Round our way the best you can get is a phone screwed to the wall.

  12. Just a bit of a humorous encounter. I was working as a computer engineer going round various sites and had a big printed notice stating: COMPUTER ENGINEER in the car to put on the dash when on customer premises. In a line of traffic coming up to Shepherds Bush, I changed to the left lane and squeezed into a gap behind a limousine because the car behind the limo was a bit slow moving off. The car started flashing his lights and blowing his horn and I thought – got to be quicker than that mate. Next, he changed into the right lane, came alongside and the passenger flashed a big printed notice which said POLICE. I smiled, gave him a thumbs up and flashed my notice which said COMPUTER ENGINEER. He laughed, pointed at the limousine and politely at the space behind the limo so I waved him into it. Obviously some VIP protection in unmarked car for the limo. Anyway it was quite funny and fortunately he seemed to have a sense of humour.

  13. Near me is chadderton police station which is just off broadgate roundabout there are 3 lanes 1 for turning left the other 2 are for going straight onto the M60 or for turning right. Ive had them in there personal cars in the left lane trying to cut in to the right lane instead of queing in the traffic like other people which is a road traffic offence in its self its 1 law for them and 1 law for every one else so nothing surprises me any more. You were right should of got his reg number and reported the arse hole.

  14. Another one who didn’t have a sense of humour… In central london there are chicanes and sometime a policeman on point duty. Anyway I was driving through one at normal speed and got stopped. Didn’t you see the sign? Yes. What did it say. Police Slow. Why didn’t you slow down? I just went past a sign which said buses on diversion turn left and I’m not a bus on diversion. That sign says Police Slow, and I’m not police. He did not think that was funny and I had to produce all my documents and listen to a lecture.. Made my day though 🙂

  15. My nephew was recently pulled over by an off duty police officer on a motorbike and told of alleged offences he had committed the next day the officer now on duty went to my nephews address and asked my siste in law for him she said he was at work and told the offer where he worked the officer then went to my nephews place of work and went in and took him to an office where he cautioned him and reported him for the alleged offences committed the previous day he ended up attending a driver awareness course rather than getting points
    When I checked with a friend who is a police officer she confirmed that they can take details and follow up on an offence when back on duty
    This situation made his job very awkward as the police turning up and taking him into office wasn’t popular with his boss

  16. I am an ‘old fashioned’ Englishman; to me the correct thing to do was to Report the Incident because by my reckoning “the Chap” was committing an Offence himself and actually YOU have let him get away with it. I feel sure Adam you have a DashCam at least and could use that recording as Evidence and Stop the Twerp from trying it on again. It is incumbent on ALL of us to Stop this Intimidation from Rookie Policeman!!

  17. Although not a Traffic Black rat I did have quite a lot to do with them in particular on a Course where the flashing of lights as a warning was discussed at length. It was agreed that if the camera team were there purely as a way to get money to cover their costs then giving a warning did amount to obstructing an Officer in his duty. However if they were there claiming to be there to ensure the safety of other drivers then flashing lights actually ASSISTED them in the execution of their duty. It was also agreed that camera vans etc only worked to reduce speed while they were there and two minutes after they left everything were back to normal. It might be a nice job for a retired Officer who is good at sitting in a van for an hour or so but what does it achieve long term?

  18. Adam when are you going to sort out the problems with Talax as I am fed up with being told to contact you as It says I have not paid my subs, which I have d d every month. I have updated but that is playing silly buggers as well. Urgently needs sorting.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi, I’m assuming you’re talking about the recent GPS rollover which caused issues for some older devices? We are well on the case with developing the new TALEX 3. You have my word we’re working hard on it!

  19. Christmas Eve 1979. I was driving very carefully back home from my In-Laws’ house, smoothing out the bends and slowing for sharp corners because our baby was asleep in the pram body on the back seat. As I left the town, I noticed that a Mk1 Escort was following me, I could tell what it was because of the reflection of my tail lights in the spectacle front end. He followed me up to and across the A5, and as I entered our village, he switched on a blue rotating beacon on his roof. I pulled over and got out of the car. I walked towards the Noddy car, saying “Please do not approach my car, you will disturb the dog in the back and she will bark and wake the baby”. The cop said that he had reason to suspect that I had been drinking, to which I replied that I had not had a drink since Christmas Eve 1963, when I scared the bejasus out of myself driving home tipsy from a Christmas party. He did not believe me, and asked me to blow into his roadside test kit (crystals in a glass tube in those days). I handed it back and said “There you are, negative I’m sure”. He shone his torch on the tube and said to his partner “He’s bloody right, you know”. I then told them that they had exceeded their authority as they were outside their patch, they had left Warwickshire and entered Leicestershire when they followed me across the A5. I took their shoulder numbers and said that I would be writing to my good friend, the Chief Constable (whom I knew through my connections with the rallying scene). As they walked back to their car, one turned to the other and said “We’re in deep shit now”. I later heard from the CC that they had been reprimanded and returned to foot patrol in New Bilton, the roughest ward of Rugby.

  20. Your story reminded me of an incident that happened to me over 50 years where in Sunderland, while in stationary traffic, I was threatened by an off duty policeman who was a PASSENGER in a car behind. I had done nothing wrong except point out, by blowing my horn, that the driver of the car he was in had.
    Needless to say that when I tried to report this at my local police station (they really did exist at one time) I was asked if I REALLY wanted to do that! Because of the way it was phrased I decide perhaps I REALLY didn’t and left!!

  21. I don’t drink and never have but years ago I was the designated drunk for my mates. Panda cars used to sit outside pubs at closing time to see who they could nab. I would go first, wander aimlessly round the car park, trip over something, try to open the car door and drop the keys and next thing – have you been drinking? Well yes, that’s what pubs are for. How many? 5 or 6. Blow into this.. 0? I thought you said you had 5 or 6. Well yes, Orange juice.

    Meanwhile all my drunk mates had got in their cars and driven off. My conscience still bothers me but I was young and stupid and none of them ever had an accident fortunately.

  22. Yes I Totally agree, don’t let these so called “On Duty” Police pull you over for anything. I’ve seen and witnessed this happen when an accident occurred. Is this ok for these police to pull you up.

  23. Quite a lot of case law on this.
    1) A driver of any vehicle must obey the directions of a police officer in UNIFORM who in the meantime is engaged in the direction of traffic. That includes being signalled to stop
    2) A driver of a vehicle is also obliged to obey the directions of ANY police officer whether or not in uniform who directs him to stop or go in a particular direction. However in the latter case before any offence is committed the driver MUST KNOW the person is a police officer. Therefore it’s a question of fact whether you actually knew and were satisfied the officer was a police officer. In the case of unmarked ‘police’ vehicles I have advised my family DO NOT STOP unless forced to do so and do not open your door or window unless you are completely satisfied the other party is a police officer regardless of whether they are in uniform or not or in a marked car or otherwise. If not satisfied call 999 explain the circumstances and say you would like them to contact their officer on his radio and you will follow him to a police station. And when satisfied of the authenticity of all this you will fully cooperate.

  24. I should add, police vehicles marked or not the same applies. There has been many instances of drivers esp females being stopped by a pseudo marked car.

  25. Thugs in uniform are a far too large percentage of our police. The bad ones are state licenced psychopaths who like to think their licence to kill warrant card gives them power over ordinary people that they in fact do not have, but that doesn’t stop them, and they are happy to try it on. Use dashcam and report it? But then you might end up like the good cops in Line of Duty….

  26. I’ve had similar done to me ….on this occassion he made a point of stopping me by cutting in front of me whilst I was on my motorcycle [if I had’nt stopped, I would have collided with his car]
    He waved his warrant card under my nose, and his opening words were ……..
    “I’m an off duty Police Officer,, read that, youre on one for dangerous driving” ……..He then accused me of “cutting in front of him after overtaking” ….{OK, I might have done, but it was’nt deliberate}
    I propped my bike onto the side stand, walked away from it and said ……
    “OK clever c***, fetch your mates, you nearly had me off there, and I’m gonna report you for the same”
    He then tried to lecture me ….until I told him again to fetch his mates or f*** off.
    I then got on my bike and rode off, leaving him blustering at the side of the road …..I never heard anything else about it.

  27. If the police officer shows you his warrant card then he is putting himself on duty and the officer out of uniform can pull you over, the only issue is you can not get prosecuted for failing to stop

  28. interesting, some years ago i was taken to court for driving at high speed in my Audi RS6 (no really)
    Yes true i mean nope, anyway he was the only (off duty witness) in court and it was thrown out
    apparently it cost the police a lot of money to get me in court and he lost..

  29. As I understand the law, if you flash a car to tell of a speed trap ahead it depends on how fast the oncoming car is going. If it is exceeding the speed limit then you are acting illegally. If it is below the speed limit then you are merely acting in an advisory capacity – and, of course, the police would need to have already measured the speed of the oncoming car in order to prosecute you. A clever defense!!!!

  30. I once pulled over a marked police car for having a faulty brake-light. I told him it was my duty as a citizen to report all infringements to the police, and since he was the nearest one… to be fair he thanked me and had a joke about it. Asked me if I wanted a job &c. Made a nice change.

  31. Good on you for standing your ground,I would have ask my Mrs to video of his stupidity and reported him to the higher
    Authorities for Bullying.Shame on these SORT OF lunatics.If it was me he would have something from to remember.

  32. 100% you ought to have reported this bully to the police (on duty one’s that is!).
    Shocking behaviour & no doubt he knew it but in order to stop some other poor motorist being intimidated, I really think this needs to be reported via the correct channels ASAP..
    Steve A, Surrey.

  33. I got pulled over on the M1 a few years ago because I was driving at 104 mph and had been doing so for several miles. I was having to make a journey from South London to Yorkshire every other w/e because my Mum was dying. The journey was s**t and it was not easy in either direction and when the guys heard, they said they would clock me at the lowest speed they had recorded which was 93. I was entirely grateful but did not look forward to visiting the police station to produce my licence and insurance. However, I was met with another decent guy who said ‘bloody hell, bad luck eh!’.
    I was so grateful for that decent behaviour and whilst I agree that some of the boys behave like Nobs, there is an overwhelming majority who just want to do a good job….like the ones on London Bridge and Westminster.

  34. Some years ago now, I was pursued by a car flashing his light at me late one night, so as he came alongside, I turned off to the left to take a different route home. He slammed on and reversed back then followed me again in the same manner, so when I came to my house, I drove past and went into another housing estate with him following behind.
    I managed to squeeze through some parked cars before they opened the doors to get out and he couldn’t follow, so I weaved my way through various roads until I was heading back home thinking I’d lost him.
    Nearing my home, on a road with no houses on, I was amazed when he flashed past me at speed then cut in front braking so hard that in avoiding hitting him I ended up off the road on the grass verge and down a small ditch.
    When I got out and walked back up to the road he was waving his wallet shouting that he was a police officer and informed me that my rear light was out.
    As he was much bigger and taller than me, he pushed me against his car and made me out my hands on the roof, spreading my legs while he frisked me.
    Luckily another car came along so I started to wave for him to stop, which he did, but the policeman showed his warrant card to him and told him to call the local police station.
    Within a short time, three police cars arrived and I was taken to the police station where I was told that the police office had made a statement that I’s scraped into his car at a set of traffic lights and driven off.
    To cut a long story short, I was summoned to court, but three times I was informed at the last minute not to appear as it had been adjourned.
    I’d had enough so I rang my solicitor to ask what was going on, but he wasn’t in the office, so after asking the secretary, she looked at the file and told me that the other part had been found guilty of perjury recently so it looked like the case was going to be dropped, which I later found out it was. I mentioned to the secretary when she told me this that the other party was a police officer and she was mortified because I think that she shouldn’t have told me.
    Any way, I tried not to stop, as you advise, but his action prevented me in the end.
    (PS. sorry it’s so long, but it shows what some police officers think they can get away with)

  35. Sorry, but I’m reading conflicting information here.
    Can out of duty officers in unmarked cars pull you over or not? Some of you are saying yes, others are saying the opposite.
    Thanks in advance, Rob.

  36. Perhaps the officer in question who seems to consider himself judge and jury watches too many TV police programs

  37. Disgraceful behaviour. You should have reported him. This could have been an attempted car jacking for all you knew. Reminds me of an incident a couple of years ago. On the M5, two speed camera vans came past me when I was doing 70 (honest), it was as if i’d just stopped they were going so fast.

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