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This is the 'blue light' protocol

2013-11-04 21:47

IN A PERFECT WORLD... A friendly police officer leans into a car, we assume the driver has abided by the 'blue light' protocol. Oh yes, and it's daylight. Image: ARRIVE ALIVE

First SA's top cop told us "don't stop". Now there's a protocol for 'blue light' police.

Click here to read Wheels24's response on the "blue light protocol".

This, word for word, is the "blue light protocol" released by the Justice Project South Africa and the Road Traffic Management Corporation.

Wheels24, however, thinks its authors live in an alternative universe: the real answer to the problem lies in the government developing the political will to enforce proper training for police officers but only those who have been determined as intelligent, sociologically stable and with a guaranteed absence of criminal activity.

Their pay should be commensurate with their responsibilities and ongoing training for promotion should be easily accessible. The downside is that they should be governed by a strict set of rules which, if broken, would result in immediate dismissal, tough financial penalties in line with their crime, and/or hard jail time without parole.


They should not be issued with a firearm until they have reached a superior level of weapons training; if that firearm is lost the price of a replacement should be taken from the officer's pay - removing the temptation to lose it for gain. Basically, we need to lose the thugs, thieves and bullies in uniform - of any rank.

That said, here's what you are required to do if followed and requested to stop by what you think is a bogus 'blue light' police car. The bad guys, of course, won't stop and if the cops open fire it's likely to be returned, which makes the whole exercise a waste of time - and possibly worse, as you will see. But anyway... the rules of engagement:

We didn't write this, it's as it was delivered... (The crimes, as reported in the media, involve not only robbery but also rape and murder. The italic comments are by Wheels24. - Editor).

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 so have been posing 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 250 such matters under investigation, no formal procedure has been published for the public and law enforcement officials to follow.

The time has now come to formalise a procedure and the Road Traffic Management Corporation and Justice Project SA have jointly developed the protocol described below to be followed by ANY PERSON who feels uncomfortable with stopping for vehicles with flashing blue lights.

Drivers are advised to study this advisory carefully and to commit the procedures to memory. If you follow the instructions, there should be no reason for you to become endangered by either legitimate or bogus police. (What, the bad guys are just going to say "Oh, the driver's read the protocol, let's get out of here!")

If you are followed by a vehicle – with or without blue flashing lights - and it's crew 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. (Even the protocol authors are not sure - note how the emphasis is laid on you "to be wise".)


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 THE RULES laid down here: (except we DON'T KNOW who are the legitimate police.)

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

Slow right down and turn your hazard lights on and then...

Extend your right arm out of the window and with an 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 diagram.


Drive at NO MORE THAN 40km/h and proceed DIRECTLY to the CLOSEST police station or public place with CCTV cameras in operation; a service station forecourt. (Which is where everything starts to fall apart. You probably don't know where the police station is, if you drive to a fuel station and the guys in the following car ARE bad guys, you will endanger other customers, the petrol attendants, the staff in the 24-hour shop.)

DO NOT drive to your own, or a friend's, home as this may endanger you and your loved ones if those following you are not genuine police. (See our comment on the previous paragraph.)

If you have a cellphone, 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. (You are probably scared silly and, if on your own, how are you expected to be calm enough to make a phone call? Your or your passenger's using a cellphone could also spur the followers, if they are real police, into action as they might think you are calling for thuggish back-up. But assuming you can make a call... and the chance of the 10111 operator knowing where the hell you are are is zero.)


If possible, provide the registration number of the vehicle following you so it may be established if it is a legitimate police vehicle or not. (Have the authors never heard of false plates, unscrupulous platemakers? Do they think the bad guys will use their family car? But the following suggestions are sound...)

If you go to a police station, when you get there and if there are no police personnel in sight outside (maybe they are sleeping, drunk, gone home) 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.

Co-operate 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 on to 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.

Co-operate 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 (er, you could get shot). 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. (Wheels24 suggests you keep you hands in plain sight, where they can be seen by the station's security cameras, preferably in the air. Tell any passengers, whoever they are, to do the same and to stand still if they exit the car.)


There is a massive difference between evading, or fleeing, from police and having them follow you to a place of safety. 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. (The bad guys probably won't care about this; if you don't stop they will probably open fire if they think the rewards will be great enough so the protocol, covering itself says the following ...)

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. (No sirs, the sensible thing to do in this case is STOP or you WILL BE SHOT.)

Phone the police immediately. (The emergency number may or may not answer...)

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.

See more details here.

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