Tips on what to do if you suspect you’ve been stopped by a fake police officer

This week, IOL has reported on two cases where people were stopped by fake police officers, who then abducted and robbed them. Picture: Pexels

This week, IOL has reported on two cases where people were stopped by fake police officers, who then abducted and robbed them. Picture: Pexels

Published Jan 11, 2024


There has been an increase in abductions and robberies by suspects masquerading as police officers.

In two of the most recent cases, nine people were targeted by suspects pretending to be policemen.

On Wednesday, four friends were safely reunited with their family after they are abducted by bogus police officers. The men, Ziyaad and Jameel Salley, Yusuf Saber and Ahmed Dhorat, were travelling between Standerton and Trichart in Mpumalanga when they were stopped by the bogus policemen on Monday.

According to national police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe, the suspects were travelling in a white VW Polo fitted with blue lights.

The four men were kidnapped and kept captive while the suspects withdrew large sums of money from their bank accounts.

IOL also reported about a Canadian family that was forced to cut short their holiday after they were allegedly abducted by men dressed in police uniforms and robbed of their personal belongings. The family had been visiting the country over the festive period and were accosted by bogus police officers in Mpumalanga.

Mathe said in the last two years, more than 300 suspects linked to kidnappings where ransom demands were made or victims were made to withdraw large sums of money from their accounts have been arrested.

"We have since launched a manhunt for a group of three to four suspects who have been involved in similar incidents where motorists were stopped by a group of men driving in a Ford Ranger bakkie or a white (VW) Polo fitted with blue lights. These incidents happened in the space of a week in Nelspruit, Hazyview, and Standerton," Mathe said.

Mathe offered the following advice to motorists who suspect that they are being stopped by criminals posing as fake police officers:

  • Do not stop if you suspect that you might be stopped by bogus police officers.
  • Drive to the nearest police station, shopping complex, or any other busy area when you are stopped by an unmarked vehicle fitted with blue lights.
  • Do not stop at a deserted spot or area to talk on your phone or even relieve yourself.
  • If someone tries to force you out of the road, don't panic, but just constantly hoot to draw attention.

“You have the right to request a police officer who is not in uniform and an unmarked vehicle to identify themselves by producing their SAPS appointment card that would have their rank, date of service, and picture on them,” Mathe said.

She added that communities can be assured that police are working around the clock to apprehend those behind these incidents and put a stop to these acts of criminality.

“Communities are also reminded to continue to report any suspicious activities to their nearest police station,” she said.