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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about policing or the law? You may be able to find the answer here.

Through our frequently asked questions section we aim to help you find the answers you need without having to call us to ask for information. We've provided answers to questions on a range of topics which are regularly asked of police forces up and down the country.

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The following advice is for anyone who feels vulnerable were she (or he) to stop. In many cases there may be several of you in the vehicle or you are confident you can deal with the situation, in which case this advice may not be for you.

An unmarked police car can stop vehicles, but it must contain a constable who MUST be in uniform in order to carry out the stop.

If a car flashing for you to pull over or stop is unmarked, unless you are 100% certain it is the police, do not stop. Drive steadily to the nearest public place (for example a petrol station where they are open till late, a police station or somewhere there are a lot of people) and then stop. If you are in a relatively deserted area, as a last resort, consider looking for a house that is obviously occupied and pull into the driveway. You can always apologise to the householder afterwards.

Try and signal that you have acknowledged the request to stop and indicate the action you are taking (put your flashers on or signal by pointing from the driver's window etc.). Don't drive off at great speed making the police think you are trying to get away.

Keep the doors locked until you are happy it is the police. Have your mobile at hand just in case. You can ask to see a warrant card, which should carry the police officer's name and photograph, through the closed window.

Incidentally, if you are suspected of drink/drugs driving none of these actions would invalidate an officer giving you a preliminary test as you have only temporarily interrupted your journey and are still driving for the purposes of that law.

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.