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2nd September 1999
Page 50
Page 50, 2nd September 1999 — POLICE STOPS
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

was driving a 7.5-tonne truck on the M1 when I noticed a white car in my mirror with its headlights and a pair of small blue lights flashing. It had no marking to show it was police, fire, ambulance or anything else.

After a while it pulled round to the front of me, slowed down and the passenger waved for me to pull over to the hard shoulder. When ! had stopped, a policeman got out of the car. He said he had been flashing his headlights and blue lights for a long time and I should have stopped immediately.

Only when I had stopped did I find that the car was unmarked and the blue lights were behind a radiator grill. The policeman was annoyed that I had not stopped and said I would be prosecuted if it happened again.

Did I commit an offence ?

• Section 163 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 states that a person driving a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road must stop the vehicle on being required to do so by a constable in uniform. If you did not see that the person wanting you to stop was a policeman and that he was in uniform then no offence would arise.

The presence of flashing headlamps or blue lamps on a vehicle does not mean drivers of other vehicles have to stop. Fire brigade vehicles, ambulances and many others are allowed to use blue lamps but none of them has power to require other drivers to stop.

Police go about in unmarked cars deliberately to avoid being noticed. They must, therefore, be prepared for other road users to be reluctant to stop unless satisfied they are genuine police officers.


Organisations: Fire brigade

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