Sneaky undercover traffic cops using novice-driver stickers

So there I was on the westbound Broadway bus near Granville Street a few weeks ago, just past morning rush hour, when some flashing lights caught my eye.

It looked like a routine police traffic stop, except the vehicle with the emergency lights was a nondescript silver compact (I didn’t see the make or model name) instead of the usual totally makeable ghost car.

This little car was a bit scruffy, actually, with the cop lights tucked into the inside upper back window, which would probably make them invisible when not activated.

What really got my attention, though, was the big green “N” sticker on the rear, signifying a novice driver. That was taking it a bit far, I thought, maybe even past sneaky.

Const. Brian Montague, one of the VPD’s media people, said today that the use of such cars was nothing new. “I don’t know the year we started using them; I know we’ve been using them for some time,” he confirmed.

He also said the fact that they were out in the open with flashing lights showed that they weren’t attempting to be too sneaky.

But do people not only let their guard down a bit when they see one of those prominent green stickers but also possibly commit traffic infractions to get the better of what they assume is an inexperienced (and perhaps intimidated) driver who either won’t “retaliate” or perhaps even notice what is going on?

Hard to say, but if so, wouldn’t that constitute entrapment to some degree?

Regardless, if you are thinking of making that illegal turn near a small car with one of those stickers, watch for this licence plate: AS 5977.

You’re welcome.

Comments (7) Add New Comment
AG
You're welcome for what? As a pedestrian, I love it when police set up traffic traps. Drivers are dangerous when they break the laws of the road. They regularly blow through stop signs, crosswalks, etc. They speed through back alleys in an attempt to get ahead of traffic along a parallel road. They make turns without shoulder checking, drive along bike lanes, and even duck into oncoming lanes to speed past a gridlock. I see all of this daily in the West End (i.e. Alberni, Denman, and other bottlenecks leading to Lion's Gate Bridge). It is a regular clusterf***k. Why are you halping people break traffic laws? These people injure or kill others (i.e. the three accidents outside of my building in the last 2 months). Stopping and fining these losers is a great source of revenue. It also helps to save lives and keep our hospitals free of traffic accident victims. Again, I ask you, YOU'RE WELCOME FOR WHAT?
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rundrd
"but also possibly commit traffic infractions to get the better of what they assume is an inexperienced (and perhaps intimidated) driver who either won’t “retaliate” or perhaps even notice what is going on?"

This is okay to the author?
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Amanda
I personally think it's a great that they do this. As a "N" driver years ago I was often "bullied" by other drivers on the road just simply b/c they assumed I can not drive. For example tale gating when going the actual speed limit. If drivers can't obey the laws of the road they should be punished. And not be taking out their frustrations on the drivers that are driving according to the law. I don't think their is enough cops on our roads protecting the good drivers from the bad drivers. We all deserve a right to use the roads and feel safe doing so. If you have a problem with what methods police use to secure our streets than your obviously a bad driver and a rule breaker. Shame on you.
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Martin Dunphy
rundrd:
I assure you I am in no way advocating violence against novice drivers. I merely posed the question about entrapment.

AG:
I assure you I am in no way advocating undermining police enforcement activities. (Police themselves advertise roadblock locations for their deterrence value.) You're welcome.
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Canadagraphs
I see no problem with the Police using any resources at their disposal to get unsuspecting bad drivers to commit faults in plain sight of them.

No one here will dispute, we have some of the worst drivers in the country. I am downtown Vancouver several times a week, and no less than 4-5 times daily I see someone run a red light, a more common day is closer to 10X.

Instead of ME having to kick or punch the back of their car as they roll thru a crosswalk I am in, I'd rather see a cop pull them over & fine them or take away their license.

Its 1 thing to bend a rule now & then slightly, but there are far too many abysmal drivers, who are legitimate safety risks to other drivers & pedestrians that need to be taken off the road, and I am all for whatever the cops do to weed out these problems....regardless how sneak/clever that is.
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Anders
A silver compact car would have a BC plate 123abc (since 2002) and if the plate had been issued prior to that it would have been abc123. Perhaps I'm missing something?
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rundrd
Martin Dunphy: In brief, 'entrapment' would be getting someone to do something they wouldn't otherwise do, and then charging them for it.

Example: Undercover cop tells an otherwise law abiding kid he'll pay him $50 if he delivers a bag of week around the corner, then partner cop busts the kid for possession. It's entrapment because the police created a situation to charge someone who otherwise wouldn't have committed the crime.

Driving with an 'N' on the car and catching drivers in their natural lawbreaking habits is the vehicular equivalent to throwing on a tattered hoodie and catching a drug deal on the DTES.
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