A security doorman was found driving a car equipped with blue lights and sirens while wearing a uniform that resembled a police officer’s with a stab vest, handcuffs, body cameras and a spray canister, a court heard.
He was stopped in his Jaguar car by police shortly after 11.40pm on July 27.
Davies, 20, denied impersonating a police officer and was cleared after a trial at Llanelli Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
Davies, who was employed by Phoenix Security, told District Judge Christopher James his uniform was similar to that of others employed by the firm and the lights and sirens were not fitted to his car while on public roads.
Prosecutor Sian Vaughan argued the demeanour of the uniform was to look like a police officer.
During cross-examination Davies said: “My hi-vis jacket has a Velcro security patch on the left breast [and] ‘Security’ written on the arm and on the back of the vest.
“From any angle it says ‘Security’ – I am a security guard, it’s my job.”
Davies said he would wear the same uniform when working security at other stores such as Morrisons and Poundland.
He said he wore a stab vest – which was not standard issue from Phoenix Security – for his own safety after being stabbed with a pen previously and said he would “rather be safe than sorry”.
He told the court he carried a radio which was the same as those police are issued with as a deterrent.
Davies, of Parc Hendy Crescent, Penclawdd, Swansea , said he had handcuffs in case he needed to detain troublemakers at McDonald’s. He argued any member of the public could carry and use handcuffs – something Ms Vaughan branded “ridiculous”.
Explaining the siren fitted under the bonnet and red and blue lights – which officers found in the boot – Davies said he only used them when working in security at festivals and never on a public road.
Police found these were operated by a control panel for their fitted next to the steering wheel.
Davies said he had never told anyone he was police officer or acted in a way to make anyone believe he was.
Peter Vokes, area manager for Phoenix Security, was asked by Ms Vaughan if what Davies was wearing when arrested was issued by Phoenix.
Mr Vokes said the hi-vis vest was and one body camera was but another was not. He said Davies’ black wicker polo shirt, handcuffs, and spray were also not part of the Phoenix uniform.
He said: “I carried out audits on uniforms and told him to not carry handcuffs but on other visits he had them again.”
Defence barrister Hywel Davies showed a picture of Phoenix staff in a similar uniform to Davies’ and Mr Vokes confirmed were issued uniforms in other areas of the firm but not within his managerial area.
When asked by Mr Davies what Mr Vokes believed Davies looked like he replied: “A security guard.”
Ammanford police station custody sergeant David Munkley, who has 21 years experience in the police, said he was fooled by Davies’ appearance.
“When he came into the police station after arrest I told the other officers: ‘You should have told me you were arresting a police officer”, said Sgt Munkley.
“I thought he was a police officer when I saw him from a distance.”
Prosecutor Ms Vaughan, in her closing speech, told the court: “The defendant has used the handcuffs on the public and taken people to the ground – the actions of a police officer.
“Everything about his appearance gave the impression that he was a police officer.
“Walk like a duck, quack like a duck – it’s a duck.”
But Mr Davies said: “My client didn’t tell anyone he was a police officer. His hi-vis jacket was plastered with the word ‘Security’ along with his lanyard.”
Judge James cleared Davies of the single charge, saying: “It is clearly the high-visibility uniform used in the security industry – even though the defendant has purchased his own equipment and adapted the uniform, in particular the vest with pockets, which can be bought on the internet.”
He added: “In coming to conclusion I am not satisfied [of guilt] and so I am sure he was not impersonating a police officer on the day. Clearly there was a similarity in the way he was dressing. I have been asked to consider if he was impersonating a police officer.
“It is clear there is no evidence and no positive assertion at any stage he was impersonating a police officer. There was no statement in evidence that he was a police officer. Clearly there was no police livery utilised on his clothing at all.
“Had the lights be used, or a warrant card issued, or he was telling people he was a police officer, they would amount to positive acts of impersonating a police officer.
“The equipment he was wearing did not have ‘Police’ on it. It was simply ‘Security’.
“I am not satisfied he was attempting to deceive to be a police officer on the day.
“There is clearly a similarity with the uniform. It may be it gave him some gravitas or self-importance in the role but there is no evidence he was impersonating a police officer.”
Following the case Aaron Davies said: “I have applied to join the British Transport Police and my arrest came two weeks before I was due to be measured for a uniform.
“The arrest paused my application and I had my SIA [Security Industry Authority] licence taken off me and they still won’t give it back to me until I appeal and that might take months.
“I had also been working as a holiday rep but because I was on bail I was not allowed to leave the country so I lost my job with them.
“And any job I want to apply when I fill in the form I have to tick the box saying I have a criminal case pending, so no-one will want to employ me.
“If you work somewhere like McDonald’s wearing a uniform, instead of just a polo shirt, if you have any difficulties the other person sees the uniform and thinks: ‘They know what they are doing’.
“I had my car, my phone, my laptop and my iPad confiscated and had to buy new ones.
“I have had to start my life again. I’ve lost two jobs and put my application to join the BTP in jeopardy.”
Source – WalesOnline