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Impersonating a Police Officer


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#1 dave09

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 06:27 PM

Hi all,

Quick question - Is it possible to impersonate a Police Officer over the phone?

Just based on a real life situation someone called a friend of mine's mother yesterday on her mobile and said "HI MRS XXXX ITS PC BLOGGS FROM CUMBRIA POLICE, ARE YOU ON YOUR OWN AT THE MOMENT, TO WHICH SHE REPLIED YES, HE THEN SAID ARE YOU SITTING DOWN BECAUSE IM AFRAID I HAVE SOME BAD NEWS FOR YOU, YOUR HUSBAND BILL HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN AN ACCIDENT, AND ITS NOT GOOD IN FACT IN AFFRAID HE'S DEAD." Obviously she started to break down and after a short while he then said "DID YOU CATCH MY NAME BY THE WAY BECAUSE IT'S PC I DON'T GIVE A ######" and then he hung up.

How someone is sick enough to do something like that is beyond me but im thinking of what offences he's commited if we can trace him?

#2 UKmember

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 06:34 PM

Was it called from a mobile or home phone?

#3 SBG

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 06:37 PM

I would consider reporting it.

#4 dave09

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 06:42 PM

I would consider reporting it.



It has been reported but what im thinking is what offences have actually been commited? Can you actually impersonate a Police Officer over the phone or has it got to be in person?

It was from a withheld number to a mobile phone.

#5 SBG

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 06:43 PM

It has been reported but what im thinking is what offences have actually been commited? Can you actually impersonate a Police Officer over the phone or has it got to be in person?

It was from a withheld number to a mobile phone.



Well if they did actually swear then you can use the good old Wireless and Telegraphy act of 1948(?)

#6 Damsel

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 07:01 PM

It has been reported but what im thinking is what offences have actually been commited? Can you actually impersonate a Police Officer over the phone or has it got to be in person?

It was from a withheld number to a mobile phone.


Well if they did actually swear then you can use the good old Wireless and Telegraphy act of 1948(?)


You've definitely got misuse of the telecommunications system, as SBG says, W&T Act, at the very least. Not sure on the impersonation aspect, as I can't say as I've ever come across this, but, the Police Act 1996 (sec 90) is fairly clear...

Any person who with intent to deceive impersonates a member of a police force or special constable, or makes any statement or does any act calculated falsely to suggest that he is such a member or constable, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.



The status of the number when it reaches the called party is immaterial. The originators service provider sends the number to the recipients service provider, it's just that their service provider doesn't send it on to their phone.

So despite what the caller might think, there is a record of his number in the Telco's system.

Your force TIU will be able to request these details from your friends, mothers' mobile network and work backwards from there.

Edited by Damsel, 20 December 2009 - 07:02 PM.


#7 BigCopSmallTown

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 07:25 PM

Report it - this is disgusting and should be dealt with. You would be suprised what can be found out from phone records!

#8 Londonbased

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 08:40 PM

Report it - this is disgusting and should be dealt with. You would be suprised what can be found out from phone records!




Definitely report it.
Impersonating a police officer is just the beginning for which ever dispicable creature did this. The Police Act doesn't say that the offender has to be in the presence of the victim so it seems to apply in this case.
As already mentioned, there is also misuse of the telephone system under the Wireless & Telegraphy Act and l would throw in a charge under the Public Order Act too.
The caller is nowhere near as smart as what they think they are. Phone records can be obtained.

#9 alkalinekerri

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 12:25 AM

How vile. Don't let it go, that grin will be well and truly wiped off his face when the police turn up at his door.

#10 SCtechy

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 02:34 PM

Sorry to hijack this thread :D

But I was wondering what people would do in this circumstance as an off-duty special constable.

My mother works in a school and the other week the school took their pupils on a Christmas school trip to a large shopping mall (kids these days eh?) Anyway some of the pupils inevitably got a little hyper while on the trip and started "carrying-on" in the shopping centre (nothing major, just not watching where they were going, talking a little bit too loud, and swearing) Anyway... A gentleman approached the youths with a camera and attempted to take their pictures, the pupils turned away from him (and my have told him to politely "go away") , at which point he announced (and i quote)

"I'm an off-duty policeman, you have to let me take your picture or your going to be arrested" (I know... dodgy or what?)

The pupils then went to the staff meeting point where my mother just happened to be supervising, they informed her of what had happened and even pointed the man in question out to her. Upon approaching the man he confirmed once again that he was an "off-duty policeman" and told her he was allowed to take the pictures. She demanded to see his warrant card, and asked him for his collar number, rank and the station he was from. According to her at this point the man become very hesitant and started to backtrack by saying things like

“hmm... well I cant give you my station because I have just moved up to this part of the country and am not yet based in any station”

Security and the Police were informed but by this time the man had disappeared. My mother said that he certainly did not conduct himself with enough confidence (or vocabulary) for her to believe he was a Police Officer.


If you were there as an off-duty special, would you have arrested him?

Edited by SCtechy, 22 December 2009 - 02:34 PM.


#11 Midsman1

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 02:41 PM

Definitely report it.
Impersonating a police officer is just the beginning for which ever dispicable creature did this. The Police Act doesn't say that the offender has to be in the presence of the victim so it seems to apply in this case.
As already mentioned, there is also misuse of the telephone system under the Wireless & Telegraphy Act and l would throw in a charge under the Public Order Act too.
The caller is nowhere near as smart as what they think they are. Phone records can be obtained.


You can not use the PO act for this and you wouldnt anway!

Misuse of Communications Act is what i would run with, not sure about impersonation but i guess you could stick it on at the time of arrest and see how far it gets!

I take it Bill wasnt dead? :D

If you were there as an off-duty special, would you have arrested him?


I would have possibly detained him until shift officers arrived yes, would have been interested to have seen what pics were on his camera!

#12 ninetyone

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 06:44 PM

I would have possibly detained him until shift officers arrived


Under what power?

#13 MindTheGap

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 09:24 PM

Under what power?

Well, firstly, someone already said he claimed to be a police officer and couldn't prove it. Secondly he was taking pictures of children which I think is covered in the Sexual Offences Act. 2003 (I think)

#14 Wazimu0

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Posted 22 December 2009 - 09:36 PM

SCtechy: Well from what I've learnt from the thread I started earlier this week on "Switching off"

Observe, Report. Be a good witness.

As long as no one is in imminent danger, then let the on duty lot confront him.

#15 brimstone

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 01:13 AM

Have a quick question, which I thought could be tacked onto this thread :D

Someone has stolen a serving officer's warrant card. Ignoring offences of theft, could they be done for 'impersonating a police officer':
(a) at an RTC, where they flash the warrant card to help control traffic.
(b) when using the warrant card for a travel concession (ie free tube, buses)
© stopping people in the street with the warrant card and questioning them as to their behaviour

Thanks!

#16 MindTheGap

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 01:48 AM

Have a quick question, which I thought could be tacked onto this thread :D

Someone has stolen a serving officer's warrant card. Ignoring offences of theft, could they be done for 'impersonating a police officer':
(a) at an RTC, where they flash the warrant card to help control traffic.
(b) when using the warrant card for a travel concession (ie free tube, buses)
© stopping people in the street with the warrant card and questioning them as to their behaviour

Thanks!

Yes to all 3.

Impersonation, etc.— (1) Any person who with intent to deceive impersonates a member of a police force or special constable, or makes any statement or does any act calculated falsely to suggest that he is such a member or constable, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.


Edited by MikeLapland, 23 December 2009 - 01:51 AM.


#17 Midsman1

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 09:16 AM

Under what power?


Police Act 1996 for the impersonation!

Well, firstly, someone already said he claimed to be a police officer and couldn't prove it. Secondly he was taking pictures of children which I think is covered in the Sexual Offences Act. 2003 (I think)


You cant use the Sexual Offences act for this, he has not commited a sexual offence!

#18 SkinSte

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Posted 23 December 2009 - 10:55 AM

Well, firstly, someone already said he claimed to be a police officer and couldn't prove it. Secondly he was taking pictures of children which I think is covered in the Sexual Offences Act. 2003 (I think)


It's not a sexual offence to take a photo of a child.

#19 ninetyone

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Posted 24 December 2009 - 12:20 AM

Oh dear, I was only picking up on the use of 'detain' - which is not a power that you could use in this situation in E&W. Definitely not SOA stuff though!

#20 AmberBarber77

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 05:27 AM

I was wonder if anyone knows if they don't have evidence on the person they are convicting, for Impersonating A public Servant. How can they arrest someone?
And how in gods name can they charge them with 17 counts of it?
Please Someone Help me!

#21 Damsel

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 12:01 PM

I was wonder if anyone knows if they don't have evidence on the person they are convicting, for Impersonating A public Servant. How can they arrest someone?
And how in gods name can they charge them with 17 counts of it?
Please Someone Help me!


To arrest someone, you don't have to have evidence per se, just reasonable suspicion or belief that a crime has been committed. Evidence can be gathered later by many means, but would include questioning.

There must be evidence I would suggest, to get as far a charging someone, especially for 17 offences, however, a charge is completely different to a conviction. A charge is for the police (CPS) to lay at a police station, a conviction is for the court to decide.

Just because someone is charged with an offence, it does not automatically follow that they are, or will be found, guilty at court.

#22 Cromwell

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 01:06 PM

It seems quite likely that the person making this phone call has committed an offence of impersonating a police officer, as, contrary to s90(1) he has made a statement calculated falsely to suggest that he is a constable. But I don't think this is the most appropriate offence here, better would be misusing a public communications network to send a message that is grossly offensive, indecent, menacing or offensive, (s127(1) Communications Act 2003) or sending a message that is false for the purpose of causing inconvenience, annoyance or needless anxiety to another, (s127(2) Communications Act 2003).

#23 ninetyone

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 07:06 PM

I was wonder if anyone knows if they don't have evidence on the person they are convicting, for Impersonating A public Servant. How can they arrest someone?
And how in gods name can they charge them with 17 counts of it?
Please Someone Help me!

"Impersonating A public Servant" is not an offence in England & Wales, and almost certainly ( :w00t: ) isn't in Scotland either. It is an offence under many US penal codes. Also, charging 17 counts is not something we'd ever do in the UK, but the US seem to rather like it. I think you may be in the wrong place :aok:

#24 Cromwell

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 07:26 PM

I was wonder if anyone knows if they don't have evidence on the person they are convicting, for Impersonating A public Servant. How can they arrest someone?
And how in gods name can they charge them with 17 counts of it?
Please Someone Help me!


To add to what ninetyone has said, I'd imagine that those who have charged you with these offences would probably dispute that they have no evidence.