Two men were arrested for impersonating police officers, as well as carrying an unlicensed firearm, in the Cape Town CBD on Monday morning. The suspects were reported to have been sitting in a Volkswagen Golf on Long Street.
“The men were approached and questioned, and the fact that the one was wearing a ladies uniform shirt raised more suspicion. The two suspects were searched and an unlicensed 9mm firearm with eight rounds of ammunition was found in their possession. The vehicle was fitted was false number plates and the possibility that it is stolen is being investigated”, Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut said.
The suspects, aged 45 and 46 respectively, will appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court.
It is illegal to not stop when an officer requests you to but after a number of fake cop incidents the Road Traffic Management Corporation and Justice Project South Africa have jointly developed a protocol for motorists to use when they are suspicious of an officer that has requesting them to stop. According to them this is the best possible protocol to follow to verify an officers legitimacy.
The protocol is as follows:
– Remain as calm as possible
– Slow your car down and turn your hazard lights on
– Extend your arm out of the window and gesture for them to follow you. Repeat this gesture several times to ensure they get the message
– Drive at a speed of no more than 40/kilometres per hour, and proceed directly to the nearest police station
– If a police station is too far away, approach a public space with CCTV cameras, such as a petrol station
– Do not drive to a friend’s home or your own, as this may put more people in danger
– Call 1011 and report the registration of the vehicle the officer is driving, as the operator will be able to establish whether this is a legitimate police vehicle or not. (It may be dangerous to ask the ”officer” directly in case they are impersonators and this is a sure fire way of verifying the police vehicle while keeping your distance at the same time.)
– If you reach the police station and find no visible policing, hoot for as long as it takes for someone to come out
– Stay in your vehicle with the engine running and in gear. Wind your windows up until officers from the police station come out to you
– Co-operate with the police from the police station, and the officers from the vehicle that you suspected to be impersonators. Explain that you felt intimidated and therefore followed the steps you did