Know the law when stopped by metro police

For motorists, being aware of and understanding the rights and responsibilities when being pulled over by the EMPD is important.

Knowing how to interact with the officer and vice versa allows for less tension and less confusion.

EMPD spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Wilfred Kgasago gave the following information to assist motorists when pulled over by EMPD officers

“What must be fully understood by motorists is that a uniformed metro police officer has the right to stop any vehicle at any time. The notion that a vehicle can only be stopped if an officer witnesses an offence is a fallacy,” said Lt Col Kgasago.

“What is important to emphasised is that an officer stopping a vehicle must ensure it is done in a safe manner and not to endanger the vehicle being stopped, other moving traffic and the officer.”

“The driver, if stopped by the metro police officer, is obliged to give their name and address if required and any other particulars concerning their identity. Conversely, the driver is entitled to ask a metro police officer for proof of identity in the form of an appointment card. The Criminal Procedures Act provides that if the officer will not or cannot produce his appointment card is in violation of the Act. Drivers have to understand that refusal to furnish the name and address is an offence that warrants an arrest,” said Lt Col Kgasago.

Although arbitrary search of a person, property or possessions goes against the constitution, officers, based on a reasonable suspicion that the vehicle or articles are stolen, can search and confiscate it as they are protected by the Criminal Procedure Act. Whatever the metro police officer confiscates must within a reasonable time be booked in at a police station in the relevant jurisdiction of where an offence, arrest or seizure took place.

Metro police may arrest a person suspected of furnishing false information such as a name and address. The arrestee may be detained for a period of 12 hours to verify the information provided.

An arrested person has the right to apply for bail. The bail may be granted at a police station. However, in some serious offences, it is only the court that can grant bail.

A telegraphic or similar written or printed communication from any magistrate, justice or peace officer stating that a warrant has been issued for the arrest of any person, shall be sufficient authority to a metro police officer for the arrest and detention of that person, be it at his or her home, workplace or on a public road.

Any person who is arrested with or without warrant for allegedly committing an offence, or for any other reason, shall as soon as possible be brought to a police station or, in the case of an arrest by warrant, to any other place which is expressly mentioned in the warrant.

If a law enforcement official wants to arrest you, you have the responsibility not to resist arrest in any way. If you feel it is an unlawful arrest, rather lay a charge or lodge a complaint.

Resisting arrest is ill-advised as the officer has the right to apply the necessary force to subdue a person resisting arrest. A male officer may not physically search a female and vice versa.

Officers are trained to be stoical under trying situations as some motorists feel its below them to be stopped by an officer and display an unacceptable conduct and verbally abuse the officers. Uttering swear words may lead to an arrest and charge of crimen injuria.

It is the responsibility of a metro police officer to greet and engage the driver in a civil manner. The same is expected of a driver to avert a situation of confrontation or an unnecessary exchange of heated words.

Motorists who feel they were fined unfairly have recourse. They can lodge a complaint with a Senior Public Prosecutor (SPP), complete a representation providing reasons for the fine to be withdrawn or contest the fine in court.

Complaints pertaining to bad treatment, intimidation or bribery by officers can be reported to Lt Col Kgasago at 011 999-2089/2294, 083 652 9914, 083 607 8125 or via email at [email protected]

Also read:

Woman and boyfriend endure horrendous ordeal with Metro police

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