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is this true or urban legend? - unmarked police?
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is this true or urban legend? - unmarked police?

i read this email that was warning drivers not to pull over if followed by an unmarked police car. It said that you do not have to pull over if you are flashed to by an unmarked police car unless you are in a well lit area or you are sure it is the police. this is because it could be an imposter who could attack you. i just wondered if this was true, do you not have to pull over?

what was weird in this is that it said about calling 112 to find out if there was a police car following you. But surely if you did this whilst driving you would be breaking the law by using a mobile whilst driving?


SS4 Elby
Using a mobile while driving where the hell do you live? I chant on my phone driving EVERYWHERE past cops past police stations ive never been in trouble once. BUt its not illegal here. Im in Mississippi. You must live somewhere like California PC capital of the world.

Stinkbug B
I heard you do not have to pull over until a regular police car comes around. because some people are using police lights on private cars to pull over people to rob them or rape them. Just try not to break the law while they are pursueing you then pull over when you see a regular police car, I'm sure a Judge would understand your concern at trial. Unless you did a hit and run

You can call 911 and request a marked police car to come out.

Angela M
This IS true. Ye can drive tae a place that ye think is safe, e.g. petrol station, supermarket car park. Then ye call 112, ask if the police urr looking for you, or if the car following ye is an unmarked car. Ye will not get intae any trouble. It seems tae be a safety thing tae protect wee lonely souls frae yon eejits who try takin' a wee chance on single vulnerable people. I huv even got a wee card in ma new mowbeel phone package that gies ye this number tae call..

dont stop

If they don't have police lights then don't pull over. Just drive on or act as if you are letting them pass you. If they are genuine cops they will either call in a marked car or will chalk you up for a call for uniformed officers later on.

If they are real and you didn't stop just tell them that you didn't know that they were police and that you thought that they wanted to pass you.

You're on the UK/Ireland yahoo site so I presume that you are British, right? If I remember my English law, it is now illegal to make a cell phone call from a handset (without a hands free kit), so don't even attempt it.

You can pull over to make the phone call, you don't have to answer the door. Leave the engine running. You can demand ID from the officer.

Also note that the police have no authority to pull you unless you do something wrong, it can be known as an illegal stop. There are however routine stops also.

You could of course pull into a police station :-)

You should not pull over if you are not comfortable. However, you should pull into a well lit, well populated parking lot or to the nearest police station. If the officer is legit you will not get into any trouble for doing so... You can also call the PD and ask if this is normal protocol.

joe b
IF its an umarked police car they will still have blue lights to flash when they want you to pull over also they have stop signs in the back window. otherwise buy a hummvee then you can just ram em.

in new york you do not have to pull over for an unmarked car

people were getting robbed, raped and killed by "pretend" police

in new york many of the police cars have thier lights on the inside so you dont notice right away they are cops when you speed by them

but they do have identifying stickers on the side if you pay attention

BPD Wife
Many years ago, our local area was stalked by a man posing as a police officer and hurting the women. I believe they did finally catch the guy, but you can never know if some nut job will try it again.

A few years ago, I was traveling alone at night (it was about midnight). I was on a dark stretch of highway and did not have a cell phone with me. All of a sudden, flashing lights were behind me. I slowed down, and the officer did not pass, he just slowed down with me. I kept remembering the story of the "fake cop" and I refused to pull over. I put my flashers on and drove about 5 miles to a local supermarket parking lot.

When the officer approached my door, he was livid! You could tell in his voice and his approach that he was going to throw the book at me. He screamed "why didn't you stop when you saw me????". Half in tears, I apologized and explained to him that I was afraid to pull over on such a dark road and waited until we got to a public parking lot with street lights.

He walked away and I knew I was in trouble. I thought for sure he was going to haul my butt into the station or something stupid. When he came back, he politely explained why he had pulled me over (unbeknownst to me, my light at my license plate was out and it is a violation in our state). He then told me that he was furious with me for not pulling over...until I explained myself to him. He told me that he had a daughter my age and all he kept telling himself while he was running my plates was that he hoped his daughter would be as smart as I had been. He made me promise to get my light fixed and let me go on my way.

My husband has heard me tell the story more than once and he makes fun of me (since he is a police officer). The reality is that even at the age of 37, if it happened again, I would do the same thing. Not just for my own safety, but now also the safety of the officer. I hear so many horror stories about police officers on dark roads that are hit by traffic. I think now I would wait to a well-lit area to protect myself but also to protect the officer too.

I am sorry Asker, you have not mentioned where this is supposed to affect. Is this an American question?

I ask because no such scenario has been mentioned in the UK. Please help your readers by being specific. Thank you.


"Calling on Cell is not outlawed everywhere."

True. But probably in the country that has 112 as its emergency code.

"Also call 911 ..."


"But if an unmarked car tries to stop you, drive slowly to a well lite and populated area and require ID before opening a window or door."

Good advice. I'd signal to the vehicle concerned that I was aware of him and make sure I make no apparent attempt to outmanoeuvre the vehicle.

mr. y
they have unmarked police cars around here.they still have flashing lights inside the grill and sirens.by law you can keep driving till you feel safe enough to pull over.it may piss off the cop,but he cant do anything.most pull right over thinking they have to.in this state the cops have to have their uniform on and their hat.if they give you a ticket without either,they had better have a good reason,like an emergency or the ticket ,fine will be dropped.

Oh, myth strikes again. Even if the car is unmarked, it will still have blue strobe lights on it, flashing headlights, a siren, a "Stop" light in the rear window, multitudinous aerials and the officers will be in uniform. If you're really unsure, stop and if the officer doesn't identify himself properly keep your doors locked and tell him through a slightly opened window that you'll drive to a police station. They'll agree to that and follow you (closely). Unless they feel you're taking the p1ss, then the window may well come in.

Calling 112 will do you no good at all.

I think they mean pull into like a petrol station or shop and then ring , but yea there's no way id stop , also they say if the car is telling you to pull over , your meant to drive to your nearest police station.

I was stopped by an unmarked car years ago, BUT it was obvious it was police /policeman. Some people have tried to pretending to be police and they will get in serious trouble for it. e.g. fitting lights behind grills etc.

the fake ones normally target people who have very nice expensive cars (to try to steal them). if you do pull over and your not sure,lock the doors. get them to show you their warrent card or ID, police have to carry ID(a family member is one)

If in doubt drive to the local police station, let them follow you and if thats not near, somewhere there is LOTS of people. as for that number not sure.

so the fake ones won't be bothering me in my old car, they'd get nothing for it .lol

but most people aren't that stupid as impersonating a police officer is a very serious offence, so in all probability it normally is a policeman / woman.

Ben Gunn
Using a mobile phone while driving is allowed if you are making an emergency call. The emergency number is 999, but the European number 112 is also recognised.

If you are not sure that it is a police officer, the police advice is to drive to the nearest police station. I don't know what you are expected to do when you find it closed and in darkness, so it is probably a better option to dial 999.

There have been incidents of people pretending to be police officers where I live. It is easy to buy red and blue flashing lights and our Vol. Firefighters use blue flashing lights in their personnel vehicles. The police advise drivers to go to a well lighted area where there are other people also all states do not use the same emergency numbers *my state is 911" if you will be traveling out of state learn the emergency numbers for the states you will be traveling in.

As a woman, common sense would dictate that you drive to the nearest police station, unless you have done something you know would wrrant them pulling you over or you know they are chasing you! regardless of the law, that is what I would do, I'm not about to get carjacked or worse!

I for one would not put over as one never knows who it is.To my reckoning an unmarked police car will carry a police stoip sign.

In the UK you do not stop for the police car it is the officer in uniform who has authority in law to stop you.If an unmarked car pulls alongside and is driven by a uniformed officer who waves you down then you should stop but in the case of unmarked car with plain clothes officers you should not stop in case it is not genuine police,

Edgar R
not true, but you can always just drive to a well lit area. and if it is a cop tell him you werent sure he was a cop and wanted to be safe.

Calling on Cell is not outlawed everywhere.

But if an unmarked car tries to stop you, drive slowly to a well lite and populated area and require ID before opening a window or door.

Also call 911 and ask for the local police station to verify license number or identify of officer.


UK driver
Thank you all for your answers! I would like to ask ed209 where did he find the wording of UK law regarding stopping for unmarked police cars? I would love to read the whole chapter! Also, I have several more questions for Hilary Y as she has first hand answers. How can I find your email? thank you!!

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