Fake cops on the rise

By Drum Digital
23 January 2017

More reports are emerging of people claiming to be police officers, and SAPS is warning that this is a serious crime.

The crime can lead to jail time and is almost not worth committing in the first place.

Often, those posing as officers do so to commit serious crimes, such as pulling over drivers to commit hijackings and armed robberies. There are also those who do it to commit fraud.

On Friday a police constable faked being a police captain, a senior-ranking position, to extort money from a law firm after making false claims that criminals wanted to murder the lawyers. A case has since been opened.

The incident took place in Mpumalanga and the lawyers became suspicious when the “captain” tried to extort money for them as a gift for saving their lives.

He will appear in court today.

In 2014, one of the most notorious false officers, Vusi Makhubela, was thought to be a reputable police officer operating in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria.

Before his arrest, Vusi had worked on a number of major police operations in which arrests were made.

While Vusi was operating as a police officer, a team known as the Blue Light gang operated as fake police officers in Soshanguve too. They were arrested in relation to a hit-and-run crash.

SAPS spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi says impersonating a police officer is often done out of greed.

“They can acquire uniforms and guns from rogue police officers in the force,” he says. “There are also syndicates that know how to duplicate police insignia and shops that sell blue lights.”

Brigadier Mulaudzi says citizens have the right to ask police officers for identification if they are stopped, and to verify that identification with the police station they claim to come from.

“If you are flagged down by a police officer, you can ask them to drive to a place where there are more people,” Brigadier Mulaudzi advises.

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