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When Can The Police Stop Me?

January 30, 2017 by in category News tagged as , with 0 and 0
Home > News > News > When Can The Police Stop Me?
when can the police stop me

Picture this, it’s early Monday and you’re quickly trying to make it into the office. You’re driving along and are just going to make it in on time. The next thing you know, there is a police car pulling you over. You’re distraught, know you’re going to be late, and generally do not know what you could have possibly done wrong. Surely you were abiding by the rules of the road, this officer couldn’t possibly have any reason to be pulling you over?

This, unfortunately, is a common misconception. The police can stop you while you are driving your car or riding your bicycle for various wide ranging reasons. The only stipulation being that the police officer must be acting “in the execution of their duty”. This simply means that police officers can’t stop drivers for “whatever they like”. If you don’t stop for the police, you are committing a criminal offence and could be subject to receiving a fine.

Reasons to Stop

The power to stop and search is given to the police under section 163 of the Road Traffic Act 1998. Section 163 strictly states that:

(1) A person driving a motor vehicle on a road must stop the vehicle on being required to do so by a constable in uniform.

(2) A person riding a cycle on a road must stop the cycle on being required to do so by a constable in uniform.

(3) If a person fails to comply with this section he is guilty of an offence.

The police however must have good reason to stop drivers, these reasons include:

  1. Asking the driver to produce their licence.
  2. Asking the driver’s name and address.
  3. Asking the driver for their insurance.
  4. Asking the driver to give the name and address of the owner of the vehicle.
  5. Asking the driver to see a valid MOT certificate.

If by chance you don’t have these items with you, you have seven days to take them to a police station; otherwise you’re breaking the law.

Best use of Stop and Search Scheme

The Best use of Stop and Search Scheme was introduced to achieve greater transparency and community involvement in regards to the stop and search power to the police. To ensure fairness in stop and search procedures the police taking part in the stop and search scheme were required to record the outcomes of all stops, community scrutiny of complaints, and offering the public the chance to observe stop and search action among other things.

Since its introduction in 2014, 13 police forces have been suspended from the scheme for not meeting the minimum requirements and their re-instatement pending further investigation and compliance. The Home Secretary hopes to bring confidence back to the community with this scheme, and with it ensure that drivers aren’t being unduly targeted.

What should you do if you’re stopped?

If you are stopped by the police you must tell them your name, address, and who the owner of the vehicle is. If you are asked you must also show your licence and car insurance details. If you are found to have committed a minor offence police may issue an on-the-spot fixed penalties as well.

If the police stop you and ask you to comply with a breathalyzer, they may only do this if they have a reasonable suspicion that you are intoxicated, have committed a traffic offence, or you have been involved in an accident.

If you provide a breath sample that is over the drink drive limit, or you fail to provide a sample, the police then have the power to arrest you and require an evidential sample from you either back at the station or at a hospital if you are injured.

‘Nice car prejudice’

In my office we regularly encounter cases where the client was stopped for no apparent reason but was driving a high performance car. We call it “nice car prejudice!”

The fact that your car might be a Lamborghini is not a good reason for you to be stopped.

If the police were to do so for that reason alone then their action would be unlawful.

However, it is highly unlikely that the police will indicate their reason for stopping you was because of the car you are driving.

But please do not take this as advice to ignore a direction by an officer to stop when you are driving along in your Ferrari.

‘The police keep stopping me’

If you feel like you are being targeted then do not take the law into your own hands and speed off.

You could consider a complaint against the officer. If you do want to complain it is wise to seek legal advice before you do.

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