Rob Williams

Police seeing red over phone app

IPSWICH police have warned motorists to be aware of a mobile phone application that could be used to trick people into thinking they were being pulled over by a police service vehicle.

The third party software, which costs just over $1 to download, allows users to select from a variety of flashing red and blue light settings and speeds.

The application has already caused problems in the US, where at least two men have been charged with impersonating police after using their mobile phones in an attempt to make other motorists pull over.

It was reported yesterday that Canberra police were also investigating the use of the application to illegally pull up motorists.

Police warned that anyone caught using the device in such a way would face criminal charges.

Ipswich traffic branch officer in charge Senior Sergeant Troy Hamilton said motorists should use common sense, adding that the application looked nothing like a real flashing police light.

“It would struggle to reach the same intensity,” Snr Sgt Hamilton said.

“At this stage we have not received any feedback suggesting it is a genuine problem up here.”

Those wanting to impersonate police have also been known to purchase red and blue flashing lights from automotive accessory stores.

The lights can be hooked up to a power outlet inside the cabin or hard-wired into the car.

In Australia, unmarked police vehicles carry several pairs of blue and red flashing lights, which are distributed around various points including passenger windows and the rear dash.

Snr Sgt Hamilton encouraged motorists to ask for an officer’s identification – particularly if the person who had pulled them over was in plain clothes.

“If you are suspicious, try to get the make and model of the offender’s vehicle and, more importantly, try to get the registration number,” he said.

Anyone who suspects they have been pulled over by someone impersonating a police officer should contact Police Link on 131 444 or, if they are in immediate danger, phone Triple-0.

 

The real deal

  • Legitimate police vehicles will usually contain two police officers.
  • The lights in an unmarked police vehicle are usually a long, flat strip on the front and rear dash, which emit an intense red and blue light.
  • Always ask for an officer’s police identification if in doubt.
  • If suspicious, take note of the vehicle’s registration, make and model and report it immediately.

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