A man has been arrested for allegedly impersonating a traffic officer and collecting bribes from motorists.
The suspect, a 33-year-old East London hairstylist, was arrested yesterday from his family’s Braelyn home by police, who received information that he was soliciting bribes from the back of his unmarked white Corsa Lite vehicle.
East London police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Hazel Mqala said it was alleged the man had a complete traffic officer’s uniform.
Mqala said the question of how he acquired the traffic officer’s uniform would form part of the investigation.
“Our detectives raided the suspect’s house but could not find the uniform.
“We are investigating a possibility that he might have been keeping it elsewhere, but according to information we have he was wearing the uniform during his operation.”
The man, who works in the Oriental Plaza, comes from a well-known family.
Mqala said he would appear in the East London Magistrate’s Court today on charges of impersonating an officer of the law, and of corruption.
She said he is alleged to have gone as far as following motorists to their homes to solicit the bribes.
Mqala urged the public not to fall into the trap of paying traffic fines in cash on the side of the road, even if the person who flagged down the car was a real traffic officer.
“The investigating officer is still continuing with the investigation because there is a possibility that there are many people who are victims of this type of crime.”
Abuse of an official uniform is a sensitive issue with the SAPS.
lIn 2014, a 35-year-old ex-policeman was arrested in Soweto, Johannesburg, and accused of renting out police uniforms to criminals.
lIn March a gang wearing police uniforms made off with R195-million during a heist at OR Tambo Airport. — firstname.lastname@example.org