In this post, I will first go over 2 stories that have happened 1 week after the other and then also deal with ways of how we can prevent police harassment and what to do if it happens to you.
Justine (surname hidden for protection) recently drove late at night being following by a police car. The police car landed up flashing her with their blue lights. She was scared so she drove a little more as she was very close to her house. The cops put up their sirens and she stopped. The cops (2 males) landed up asking her to climb out of her car and frisked her and took her phone and started looking through her phone numbers. She asked them what this was about.
The police office said “We have a right to search you as we think you are hiding something”. They landed up trying to frisk her and she screamed. They told her they will lock her up if she refuses and that nobody was around. She said she was sorry and started crying. The men said they would make her life a nightmare if she says one word about this. They took her cigarettes and told her they are the law. Luckily the lady was not taken somewhere into a field, raped and then killed.
A week after, we got a call from a gentleman and a lady who were stopped along a not so busy road. They were not drunk all car licensing was in order. Usually when a policeman stops you, they give you a reason. These policemen landed up searching the whole car as they said they suspected the people of a robbery. “We think they thought because it was late at night, that we might be a little drunk and ask us for bribes”. The man, George told the policeman that he can test them for alcohol levels, and the cop straight away said to shut up or he will take him down to the station. They were searched and one of the cops tried to steal the digital camera we had in the back seat.
Luckily we saw him even though the one cop tried with a distraction. We asked him if he liked the camera and he put it on and even tried to steal the memory card out of there. He landed up throwing it onto the backseat. One of the officers also searched the girlfriend in the most horrible inappropriate way. We thought that only a female officer is allowed to frisk a female and vice versa. “We cannot trust the police anymore”.
In a separate case, there has been a police car cloned with people who are not really policemen. Both this and the other cases above could prove fatal so please read the following tips and stay safe!
Now for the tips:
1. Try your best to not drive alone at night especially if you are a woman.
2. Try take busy roads where there are lots of lighting and traffic.
3. When you leave your friends / families house, make sure you tell them that if you do not let them know you are okay within half an hour or however long it should take, they must know something is wrong and follow you or get some help.
4. If you are going to friends / family from your home, let them know you are on your way and if you don’t come back they must look for you!
5. If you have to go into a very quiet dark road, make sure you are not being followed into that road and that there are no police or other suspicious vehicles hiding in that road! You don’t know who to trust these days. However if somebody besides the police is following you, drive past those police officers if they are in your road as they will probably help you as catching a criminal will be good in their books. Alternatively drive to the nearest police station or very busy area like a busy garage full of cars if you have to.
6. Ask a security company to perhaps follow you home or 4-5 people in a car following you especially if you are a single lady in the car.
7. Download a security app that sends out a distress signal to selected friends / family members with your GPS co-ordinates. Also those apps in some cases can be linked with your security company. USE A EMERGENCY alarm that some tracking companies have. Sometimes the reaction time is less than 10 minutes.
8. Hide valuables in your car. Do not keep money on you. If you believe you are being followed… this is the time you get on your phone even while driving and phone your friends and the police if you have to.
9. A good tip – When the police stop you… make sure you make like you are on your phone and let your friends know you have been stopped… let the cops think you are phoning your friends if you don’t get a chance to and make sure the cops hear that you tell them where you are and for example to open up the gate for you.
10. If the cop stops you tell them your friend just phoned you they are waiting by the gate down the road so the cops will know they will come looking for you.
11. The cops will mostly stop to harass you in a quiet road, but if you are in a busy road, try and slow down to see if they go past you. If not stay there in the busy area. If you can, just drive to the garage hopefully there are cars and lots of lighting there.
12. If you have been stopped and the lights / sirens go off, you are going against the law if you do not stop. Do not give them the excuse to arrest you / really harass you. Like I suggest, see points 8, 9 and 10 above. Make sure that if you suspect any activity, use point 7 if you have that option.
13. What is important is stay calm and don’t swear at anybody. You can only report it later on once they have left. Then this case will be investigated probably without any results. Since this has been happening more often, chances are you might be lucky to see some justice.
14. It would be nice if you have access to get a secret recording device and start it when you suspect anything. Some GPS trackers actually have a microphone record button. Do not record from your phone and then hide it otherwise the police might look and find the phone and see what you are doing. Things could get real ugly. Maybe have a hidden phone recording application that is hidden from the police.
These tips could save your life and could allow you to prosecute these people abusing their ranks in the police force. It might seem extreme, but over 50 people have complained about this in the East Rand area alone and hundreds in Gauteng. Don’t let this happen to you.