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Rider fined for impersonating police

Sammy Harlee's Harley-Davidson Electra Glide police motorcycle impersonating police

A rider who bought a BMW R 1200 RT motorcycle that was painted and equipped to look like a police bike so he could feel safe in traffic has been fined for impersonating police.

Darren Emanuel, 46, was stopped in London by motorcycle police officer PC John Harding who thought he was a colleague.

He told the court the bike had black and white checkering down both sides, a badge resembling a police badge with the letters ER (Elizabeth Regina) and a blue light. He was also wearing a jacket with three reflective stripes on the sleeves.

“If a person looked in their rear-view mirror and saw him what would they think?” the officer said.

British Police Motorcycle
British Motorcycle Police

“Twenty days earlier, we had a terrorist attack. I am not calling the defendant a terrorist, but people in London help the police we have a good relationship and they move out of the way for us when they see us.”

Darren sad he bought the bike to feel safer in London traffic.

“I have lost two friends who died in motorcycle accidents coming home from the office,” he told court.

He bought the BMW second-hand from a former police inspector who assured him the livery was legal.

Darren was found guilty of wearing a police uniform with intent to deceive, under the Police Act of 1996, and given a 12 months’ conditional discharge and ordered to pay court costs of £670.

Impersonating policehi-vis vest High Visibility Polite Think Bike impersonating police

He is not the first rider to be fined for impersonating police, but it is fairly rare.

In most countries, you are deemed impersonating an officer if you wear a similar uniform, but usually it is with the caveat of “for the purpose of deception or committing a crime”.

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For example, in April 2015, a father and son were robbed in Newcastle by offenders impersonating police officers.

However, the laws on impersonating police differ vary and it may be illegal even if you and your bike resemble a police bike and officer, even if you are not committing a crime.

So, if you have an ex-police bike or one that may be considered to resemble a police bike, it is advisable to check your local authority.

There are usually exemptions such as special police consent or for entertainment use at special events.

  1. The trick is to look like a cop at first glance but also obviously not look like a cop.
    That means no badges or writing that resembles police markings no blue lights or sirens.
    A yellow hi vis jacket is ok as long as it is not exactly the same or very similar and don’t wear a uniform similar to the police one unless you are a security guard and it’s a work day.
    Having an ex police bike is not illegal and even fitting lights that are in a similar position and look similar is not illegal as long as they don’t flash red and blue or look exactly like police lights when turned off. You want people to see that you are obliviously not a cop but you want them to worry that you might be before they try the sidsym bit and pull out on you or change lanes on top of you or ride your tail.
    The guy in this story was pushing it way too far.

  2. I believe in qld and nsw so probably all Australia there is actually a law against displaying emblems and lettering that are of a likeness to police official markings. Even security companies have to be careful with their logos.
    Due to this law those vests that say Polite are actually illegal.
    While you may not get pinched for wearing one if you’re riding a moped or a sport bike unless you’ve been riding like a twat but if you’re riding and wearing anything that even remotely looks police like be prepared for the crap to start hitting the fan.

  3. there is a fella around my way with an old BMW police bike. he his a POLITE rider it says so on his bike

  4. Beware .. i got a defective vehicle fine because one of Queensland finest tax collectors .. sorry traffic cop .. decided my daytime running lights were “too blue” . My bike in no way resembles anything like police bike.

  5. Nothing wrong with having a bike that looks similar, eg buying a white ex-police bike at auction & leaving it as when police sold it to you but some people are pushing the boundaries a bit, a bit odd really.

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