Doorman ‘not impersonating police officer’
Man is cleared
A SECURITY doorman was found driving a car equipped with blue lights and sirens while wearing a uniform that resembled a police officer’s with a stab vest, handcuffs, body cameras and a spray canister, a court heard.
Aaron Davies was arrested on suspicion of impersonating a police office in July last year near the McDonald’s restaurant in Trostre, Llanelli, where he worked as a doorman. He was stopped in his Jaguar car by police shortly after 11.40pm on July 27.
Davies, 20, denied impersonating a police officer and was cleared after a trial at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court.
Davies, who was employed by Phoenix Security, told District Judge Christopher James his uniform was similar to that of others employed by the firm and the lights and sirens were not fitted to his car while on public roads.
Prosecutor Sian Vaughan argued the demeanour of the uniform was to look like a police officer.
During cross-examination Davies said: “My hivis jacket has a Velcro security patch on the left breast [and] ‘Security’ written on the arm and on the back of the vest.
“From any angle it says ‘Security’ – I am a security guard, it’s my job.”
Davies said he would wear the same uniform when working security at other stores such as Morrisons and Poundland.
He said he wore a stab vest – which was not standard issue from Phoenix Security – for his own safety after being stabbed with a pen previously and said he would “rather be safe than sorry”.
Davies, of Parc Hendy Crescent, Penclawdd, Swansea, said he had handcuffs in case he needed to detain troublemakers at McDonald’s.
Explaining the siren fitted under the bonnet and red and blue lights – which officers found in the boot – Davies said he only used them when working in security at festivals and never on a public road.
Police found these were operated by a control panel fitted next to the steering wheel. Davies said he had never told anyone he was police officer or acted in a way to make anyone believe he was.
Peter Vokes, area manager for Phoenix Security, was asked by Ms Vaughan if what Davies was wearing when arrested was issued by Phoenix. Mr Vokes said the hi-vis vest was and one body camera was but another was not. He said Davies’ black wicker polo shirt, handcuffs, and spray were also not part of the Phoenix uniform.
He said: “I carried out audits on uniforms and told him to not carry handcuffs but on other visits he had them again.”
Defence barrister Hywel Davies showed a picture of Phoenix staff in a similar uniform to Davies’ and Mr Vokes confirmed staff were issued uniforms in other areas of the firm but not within his managerial area. When asked by Mr Davies what Mr Vokes believed Davies looked like he replied: “A security guard.”
Ammanford police station custody sergeant David Munkley, who has 21 years experience in the police, said he was fooled by Davies’ appearance.
“When he came into the police station after arrest I told the other officers: ‘You should have told me you were arresting a police officer’,” said Sgt Munkley.
“I thought he was a police officer when I saw him from a distance.”
Judge James cleared Davies of the single charge, saying: “It is clearly the high-visibility uniform used in the security industry – even though the defendant has purchased his own equipment and adapted the uniform, in particular the vest with pockets, which can be bought on the internet.”
Following the case Mr Davies said: “I have applied to join the British Transport Police and my arrest came two weeks before I was due to be measured for a uniform.
“The arrest paused my application and I had my SIA [Security Industry Authority] licence taken off me. I had also been working as a holiday rep but because I was on bail I was not allowed to leave the country so I lost my job with them.”
Aaron Shaun Davies, 20, outside Swansea Magistrates’ Court. Below, in his work outfit.