W­hat to do w­hen sus­pect ‘of­fi­ci­als’ pull you o­ver

George Herald - - News - K­ris­ty Kol­berg

A re­cent al­le­ged ra­pe in­ci­dent had ton­gues wag­ging and que­s­ti­ons flying. A wo­man from Ge­or­ge clai­med she had been rob­bed and ra­ped by four men dres­sed in po­li­ce u­ni­forms who we­re dri­ving a car with po­li­ce de­cals in the Hoog­e­kraal a­rea be­t­ween Ge­or­ge and G­len­ta­na.

News of the al­le­ged in­ci­dent spre­ad fast and que­s­ti­ons li­ke "W­hat are my rig­hts w­hen I get pul­led o­ver?", "S­hould I s­top for po­li­ce if I'm al­o­ne at nig­ht?" or "W­hat s­hould I do if it feels unsa­fe to s­top?" we­re as­ked by re­a­ders on va­ri­ous plat­forms.

W­hat the law says

The law is cle­ar. It is an of­fen­ce not to s­top w­hen in­structed to do so by a po­li­ce or traf­fic of­fi­cer.

Ac­cor­ding to Sout­hern Ca­pe po­li­ce spo­kes­per­son, Cap­tain Mal­colm Po­jie, the­re is no le­gal as­pect that jus­ti­fies a mo­to­rist dri­ving to the ne­a­rest po­li­ce sta­ti­on w­hen pul­led o­ver by the po­li­ce or traf­fic of­fi­cers. "You must s­top w­hen such of­fi­cer re­que­sts you to do so. You do ho­we­ver ha­ve the rig­ht to re­quest that the of­fi­cer s­how you i­den­ti­fi­ca­ti­on and gi­ve you a re­a­son why he or she has stop­ped you. S­hould you still feel un­com­for­ta­ble or of­fen­ded, you may re­port it to the re­le­vant aut­ho­ri­ties. Not stop­ping for po­li­ce or traf­fic of­fi­cers can im­me­di­a­te­ly es­ca­la­te the si­tu­a­ti­on and may en­dan­ger your li­fe," he said.

Ho­we­ver, an ar­ti­cle on Ar­ri­ve A­li­ve's web­si­te sta­tes that if you are fol­lo­wed by a vehi­cle with blue flashing lig­hts that in­di­ca­tes you to pull o­ver, par­ti­cu­lar­ly at nig­ht, you would be wi­se not to do so if you sus­pect they may not be of­fi­cers of the law.

Inste­ad, it may be wi­se to in­di­ca­te that you wish to pro­ceed to a po­li­ce sta­ti­on or pu­blic pla­ce be­fo­re stop­ping.

W­hat to do

In­di­ca­te to the vehi­cle fol­lo­wing you that you wish to ha­ve them fol­low you to a pla­ce of sa­fe­ty:

Slow do­wn and turn your ha­zard lig­hts on; Ex­tend your rig­ht arm out of the win­dow, bent at 90 de­grees, with an outspre­ad hand ex­ten­ded up­ward;

Ge­stu­re for them to fol­low you by mo­ving your fo­re­arm for­ward and back;

Dri­ve at no mo­re than 40km/h and pro­ceed di­rect­ly to the clo­sest po­li­ce sta­ti­on or pu­blic pla­ce with CCTV ca­me­ras in o­pe­ra­ti­on;

Do not dri­ve to your own, or a friend's ho­me;

Call 10111 and tell them that you are being fol­lo­wed and are pro­cee­ding to the clo­sest po­li­ce sta­ti­on or pu­blic pla­ce;

If pos­si­ble, pro­vi­de the re­gis­tra­ti­on num­ber of the vehi­cle that is fol­lo­wing you so it may be es­ta­blis­hed if it is a le­gi­ti­ma­te po­li­ce vehi­cle;

W­hen you get to a po­li­ce sta­ti­on and the­re are no po­li­ce per­son­nel in sig­ht out­si­de, hoot for as long as it ta­kes for so­meo­ne to co­me out;

S­tay in your vehi­cle with the en­gi­ne run­ning, in ge­ar and your win­dows wound up until po­li­ce from the sta­ti­on co­me out to you;

Coope­ra­te with po­li­ce per­son­nel from that po­li­ce sta­ti­on and the of­fi­cers from the vehi­cle that fol­lo­wed you and ex­plain im­me­di­a­te­ly that you felt in­ti­mi­da­ted and the­re­fo­re pro­cee­ded to the po­li­ce sta­ti­on;

If you go to a ser­vi­ce sta­ti­on, dri­ve on­to the fo­re­court w­he­re the pumps or the con­ve­nien­ce shop are so you will be in full view of the ca­me­ras, and do the sa­me as a­bo­ve.

The­re is a hu­ge dif­fe­ren­ce be­t­ween e­va­ding, or fleeing from po­li­ce and ha­ving them fol­low you to a pla­ce of sa­fe­ty.

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