News: combating the ‘Blue Light Gangs’. What to do if you’re pulled over.

After checking out the Road Traffic Management Corporation‘s link to the new Blue Light Gang Protocol, we thought we’d reblog their info in an effort to spread the word about how to safely deal with being pulled over by cops (or alleged cops) at night. It can be scary being pulled over if you don’t know whether the blue lights really do belong to honest police officers, so read what they say below or download their document from their website. Or visit Ystream for an alternate summary.

ID-100159306From RTMC: Combating of Blue Light Gangs Protocol The law is clear. It is an offence not to stop when instructed to do so by a police or traffic officer. Unfortunately, criminals know this too and some have come to pose as police, using blue lights and other law enforcement equipment to commit crimes has escalated in South Africa. Despite the fact that this is nothing new and there are currently no less than 250 such matters under investigation; to date – no formal procedure has been published for members of the public and law enforcement officials alike to follow.

The time has now come to formalise a procedure and the Road Traffic Management Corporation and Justice Project South Africa have jointly developed the protocol described below to be followed by any person who feels uncomfortable with stopping for vehicles with flashing blue lights. Motorists are advised to study this advisory carefully and to commit the procedures to memory.

If you follow the instructions to a tee, there should be no reason for you to become endangered by either – legitimate or bogus police.

• If you are followed by a vehicle – marked or not with blue flashing lights and it indicates for you to pull over, particularly at night – you would be wise not to do so if you feel uneasy or unsure that they are genuine police. Instead, it may be wise for you to indicate that you wish to proceed to a police station or public place before stopping.

• However you must bear in mind that not stopping for genuine police can immediately escalate the situation and may endanger you further if you do not take extreme care to abide by ALL OF the rules laid down here:

  • When indicating to the occupant/s of the vehicle following you that you wish to have them follow you to a place of safety:

STAY CALM!

Slow right down and turn your hazard lights on and then

• Extend your right arm out of the window and with an tightly outspread hand extended into the air with your forearm at 90 degrees from your shoulder;

• Gesture for them to follow you by moving your forearm forward and back to the upright, and repeat this action several times as per the following diagram. •

Drive at NO MORE THAN 40km/h and proceed DIRECTLY to the CLOSEST Police station or public place with CCTV cameras in operation; like a service station forecourt.

DO NOT drive you your own, or a friend of yours’ home as this may endanger you and your loved ones if those following you are not genuine police.

If you have a cell phone with you, call 10111 and tell them that you are being followed and are proceeding to the closest police station or public place.

If you are not sure where the closest police station is, you can ask the 10111 operator.

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 or not.

If you go to a police station, when you get there and if there are no police personnel in sight outside, hoot for as long as it takes for someone to come out.

• Remain in your vehicle with the engine running, in gear and your windows wound up until such time as police from the station come out to you.

• Cooperate fully 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 directly to the police station.

If you go to a service station, drive onto the forecourt (centre of the service station) where the pumps or the convenience shop are so you will be in full view of the cameras.

• Cooperate fully with the officers from the vehicle that followed you and explain immediately that you felt intimidated and therefore proceeded directly to the service station.

No matter what, if you are shouted at, do not respond by shouting back. Also be careful not to respond to any potentially violent acts by resisting in any way or becoming violent yourself. Remain calm and respectful and explain that the reason you did not stop immediately was because you were not comfortable that they were genuine police.

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

Both, members of the public and genuine police should feel comfortable with this protocol, since it offers protection from attack in an isolated place by moving the stop to a public place where witnesses and assistance should be around.

WARNING: If you follow ALL of these steps precisely and the people pursuing you start shooting at you, do everything that you can to evade them and get away without endangering yourself and others. Phone police immediately.

Disclaimer: This protocol is released as is – in the public interest and neither JPSA nor the RTMC can accept any liability whatsoever for any deviation from it by any person.

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