Advice for plain clothes stops…

Long ago I was in a car stopped by police in plain clothes – complete with girlfriends in the back of their civilian car.

It was in the midst of a traffic jam and the policeman suspected, rightly, that our driver had been drinking – but he had had very little and was well within limits (as was later proved) but the policeman, doubtless fired up by friend and girlfriend, chose to be rather aggressive about it – and I, as a simple passenger expressed considerable surprise that his warrant card could be valid and ever more so, when the uniformed ‘support’ took over one hour to arrive. Which it did, eventually.

Remarkably, I think I have never been so much sworn at by somebody ever, either before or since….

Let us hope that things are usually better, for in the light of today’s horrifying conviction of Wayne Cozens, there is this valuable, interesting and important advice from the Assistant Commissioner, Nick Ephgrave, for @MetPoliceUK, who is responsible for Frontline Policing across London:

The advice is, I suggest, spot on – and must have been difficult to give…


  1. Ros Johnson -

    “If at the end of all that, you’re still unhappy, then you need to call for assistance. Grab hold of a passer-by. Knock on a door. Potentially you need to consider calling 999.”

    There is a phrase to describe this. It’s called “resisting arrest”. If you have been in a Magistrate’s Court for the first sitting, you will have seen (usually) young, (usually) black people in the dock being charged with this. All too often, it’s the only charge. I remember reading about an arrest that took place at Lord’s Cricket Ground (having been there that day which is why I remember it) when the perpetrator was charged with being drunk, and one of the items of evidence against him was that he had asked to see the arresting officer’s warrant card.

    Sarah Everard was young. I read that her grandmother was Jamaican. Sarah would have known better than to irritate a policeman. She may have thought that it was possible that she had broken COVID regulations; if she smiled, looked sorry, answered demurely “Yes Sir, No Sir, Sorry Sir”, she might get away with it. Am I right to think that the reason why your behaviour in the car was not followed up was that you (according to your picture) look white?

    This is a long-term management problem. Police rank and file know their superiors are not interested in their behaviour; the superiors know that nothing will happen to them. The Met Police (MPS) killed Harry Stanley and Jean-Charles de Menezes and shot Stephen Waldorf who were going about their business just as innocently as Sarah, and no-one senior faced any consequences. Yesterday, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal found it incredible that MPS senior offices claimed not to know about the sexual behaviour of undercover officers. []. What happened to Cozen’s immediate superior? Did nothing come up in Cozen’s Annual Reviews. His colleagues (on a chat group) are apparently being checked up on; what about his line of command?

    Rant over. Sorry.


    1. Peter May -

      I fear your rant is right!
      A licence to practice would, I think, go some small way to improving things.

      1. Andrew -

        The rant is well deserved and to the point. Don’t feel you have to stop.

        But don’t all police officers take an oath as a constable, to
        act with fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality, to keep the peace, and act with best of their skill and knowledge. That is in essence their licence to practice, no?

        And then they are subject to regulation and discipline.

        Whether any of that is effective is another matter.

  2. Peter May -

    @Andrew Yes you’re right but my point is that perhaps they should be required to renew the licence at regular intervals to concentrate minds on standards…
    As I understand it the College of Policing retains a list of all authorised police – but policemen and women merrily change to a different force – as Couzens did – and there seems to be no check on previous conduct in the previous police force, where as we now know he was known as ‘the rapist’.
    Perhaps they were pleased to get rid of him. If police had a licence to practice it would be to practice anywhere and the errors and omissions – and there are always going to be those errors and omissions – would be more obviously in plain sight.

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