Polite-Vest

Bikers wrongfully charged over polite vest

Motorcyclist Darren Emanuel, 47, an independent financial consultant, has been a biker for many years and was riding his white, ex-police BMW R1200RT when he was stopped by a police officer who had seen him from the opposing carriageway.

The officer concluded that Emanuel was trying to impersonate an officer

After the officer checked the bike over, he then turned to the clothing choice of Emanuel. At the time, Darren was wearing his “Polite Think Bike” vest and a white helmet. Combined with the look of his motorcycle, the officer concluded that Emanuel was attempting to impersonate an officer. The officer made notes and sent Darren on his way.

Only after Emanuel later made a complaint to the police about his treatment was he called into a police station about the incident. He was then charged with wearing a police uniform, which was calculated to deceive, and the case went to court.

Darren was ordered to pay costs

The court saw that Darren was not attempting to deceive the public, but was ordered to pay £670 in costs.

The story was then blown out of proportion by the media, and even people from other countries heard of Darren’s story.

“I had friends in other countries who read about it,” Emanuel said. “After the news of the conviction appeared online, my job contract wasn’t renewed, and my landlord served a notice on my house.”

‘Polite’ vests have since come under intense scrutiny. However, a Met Police spokesperson exclaimed back in 2013 that “It does not look like a police uniform. It is merely a high visibility jacket, so it would not be illegal.”

Despite appealing against the conviction, the damage had been done

Emanuel successfully appealed the conviction two weeks later, but the damage was already done. Following his appeal, Emanuel took out a libel case against the newspapers and websites he says it defamed him, which was later settled out of court, however, many of those publications have refused to print corrections, and Emanuel says he remains out of pocket.

He expressed: “While these items of clothing are perfectly legal, wearing one caused me a great deal of trouble, anxiety, expense, loss of my home and loss of work’.

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