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The detail matters

A constable in uniform ?

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Hi All


New member and I couldn’t find the answer in the forums but if it has been asked before I apologise and just point me in the direction of the answer.


It’s all about the definition of a constable in uniform for the purpose of the road traffic act 1988 and the seizure of vehicles.


I am a plain clothes officer and I usually wear jeans and a black fleece provided by the Police but unmarked. I carry a warrant card that has “Police Officer” on the bottom of it and has my rank and number on it.


I was driving a plain car and I saw a car being driven poorly so I followed it and it stopped outside a house. I knew the driver instantly when he got out and he knew me as I have had contact with him several times over the years.


PNC showed the car had no insurance/ mot/ tax and he admitted this to me. As I was not in uniform I couldn’t seize the car under 165 of the RTA so I called a divisional marked mobile who did that.


If I was in my normal plain car I would have had my reflective jacket and armour both with the words “Police” on them.


Could I have just put these items on, still wearing my jeans and my job issued fleece top, and asked him to produce the licence or insurance and when he failed seize the car as an officer in uniform ? I can’t find any stated cases as to what a “Uniform” must consist of.


If necessary I will carry my uniformed trousers in the car as well and pull these up over my jeans and have my flat cap in the back of the car too if this is what the law expects me to have to do……….

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From my training it was to be 'instantly recognisable' as a police officer, a HV would suffice (in GMP land they used to have the TVCU who wore civvies, GMP baseball caps and stabbies and they used to be exclusively traffic).


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