Wednesday, January 20, 2016

So easy to gear up as a cop

It doesn’t cost too much to pass off as a police outrider. Nor is it too difficult to dress up and pose as a cop.

If you have a white Honda CBX 750 or a Honda VFR 800 or Honda ST 1300 – what the men in blue use – then you’re just about RM2,000 away from looking like one.

The sum can cover everything from police outrider jackets, helmets, riding boots, sirens and blue beacon to strobe lights for the motorcycle.

Other accessories such as vests and batons are surprisingly easy to source from uniform and tailor shops.

Two bogus traffic policemen presumably outfitted themselves in this way when they posed as outriders escorting a “VIP convoy” of vehicles two weeks ago.

The duo were blaring sirens and flashing their strobe lights to cut their way through the rush hour traffic in Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, when real policemen stopped and arrested them.

Several shops visited by The Star here and in Kuala Lumpur revealed that walk-in customers did not even need to produce police ID to buy apparel and paraphernalia thought to be exclusive to the police force.

The checks also revealed that there were dealers happy to take orders for strobe lights.

The ease of buying police uniforms and equipment has raised concerns over the possibilities for abuse.

If in doubt over a policeman, Kuala Lumpur police chief Comm Datuk Tajuddin Md Isa advises the public to ask for his authority card.

“Everyone has the right to ask a policeman to show his authority card. Call us immediately if you don’t get it,” he said.

He said if a policeman refuses to produce his authority card, the public should note his badge number, name or vehicle licence plate number and contact a police station.

Bukit Aman is also calling for new legislation to ban the sale of strobe lights to civilians.

Federal traffic police chief Senior Asst Comm Mahamad Akhir Darus said he had held a discussion with traffic chiefs of all states who all felt this was necessary.

“Currently there is no law to bar civilians from buying strobe lights although there are rules against the use of these devices.” 

He said that the agencies allowed to use strobe lights on their vehicles were police, Immigration Department, Customs Department, Civil Defence Department, Fire and Rescue Department, Prisons Department and ambulances.

“We hope new laws will be in place to only allow shops to sell these devices to personnel who have authorisation, such as a police authority card,” he said.

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