The Great SOCPA Section 165 Scam (UK only)


Perhaps the most well-known provision of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act is that demonstrations can only take place if authorised by the police. 

But, buried in this Statute, is the provision for a wonderful money-making scam, which utilises the police (either wittingly or unwittingly - who knows?)

Unfortunately I discovered this scam before I discovered all the other information in relation to Statute so-called 'law'. If I had known then what I know now, the outcome might have been different.

The person involved, the person actually scammed, was a friend of mine. She was driving her car. I was merely a passenger (actually, a 'guest' in Common Law - but I did not know that, at the time). However, this means I can write the events from personal observation.


Summary of what happened

1) In October 2008 she overtook a police car on the Motorway.

2) Blue light went on.

3) She pulled over on to the hard shoulder, stopped the engine, and went back to see what was wrong. The police car had pulled up behind.

4) She came back saying they were going to 'do' her for speeding. They were checking out other things, and would let us continue after the 'checkout' had been done.

5) After 'checking', they said they needed to seize her vehicle. They said her licence had been 'revoked' in 2004.

6) They arranged for her car to be carted away to a Car Pound.

7) This was very late, on a Saturday night. The Car Pound was not open for collections on the Sunday. Consequently she regained her car on the Monday, as soon as possible, and was charged 190 by the Car Pound. In order to achieve this she had to take documents to the police station, accompanied by another of my friends, who was insured to drive any car. (The police released the car into his custody). A point to note here is that the glass screen, which the officer sits behind, had one single notice prominently displayed. Of all the possible things this notice could have referred to, it actually referred to Section 165. (So it's big business!)

8) One other point to add in this summary. The police who stopped her said they probably wouldn't 'do' her for the speeding offence.


Analysis of what happened

The police were using a computer screen in their car. They had downloaded information from the DVLA which indicated my friend's licence had been revoked. Note that word, and think about it. And that this had happened four years ago. Note that, as well. Please also note that my friend was fully insured, the vehicle was validly Road Taxed and MOT'd. She has not been prosecuted for anything - even the speeding offence. All that has actually happened is that she has been 'shaken down' for 190.

Are you smelling 'scam'?


Here's why you are probably smelling 'scam'

We have to go back four years. My friend admits that she may have had a 'run in', but can't remember very much about it. She is absolutely, positively, and vehemently certain that she was never asked, by the DVLA, to send up her licence such that points could be added. (Actually 'physically printed' - see below how this is not, necessarily, relevant in this day & age). My friend is adamant that her licence to drive is a crucial thing for her (she has an invalid son) and that - of all things - she would keep her licence in order as a top priority. (I see no reason to disbelieve). 

The likelihood is that a court awarded points for some minor offence. The DVLA did not request her licence due to 'one department not knowing what the other department was doing'. Because she was not notified, she forgot all about it. Because she did not return her licence for 'stamping', the DVLA revoked her licence in 2004.

Now let's look at some facts.

1) In all other matters my friend was 'legal'. She had never had a problem getting Insurance, Road Tax, etc. And yet - according to the DVLA - her licence had been revoked???? Does this make sense? Does this make sense when - as we know - all these agencies computer-connect these days?

2) What does 'revoked' mean? That's pretty draconian, isn't it? It implies that she 'could never drive again'. What could she have possibly done to attain that state? Drink-driving? Well, this would receive a ban, for a period of time, a temporary suspension. But revoked? (BTW my friend is a long way from being an alcoholic). So what's with this 'revoked' business? If she had been banned in 2004 for - say - 3 years, which is a pretty stiff sentence, she would be perfectly entitled to drive in 2008.

3) Anyway, she knows she was never banned. I think someone generally knows if they get banned, don't you?

4) 3, 6, 9 points on a licence does not debarr anyone from continuing to drive. It just means be very careful not to get the 12.

5) In these computerized days, does it actually matter if the points are not, actually, physically printed on a licence? Most agencies have on-line access to one's Driving Record. Placing the points on the computer database, as the DVLA does, could surely be used to supercede physical printing on the piece of paper held by the Driver.

6) And, in any case, if physical printing is so important, surely it would warrant a 'policeman on the doorstep' demanding said piece of paper - in the event that the DVLA do not get a posted response from the Driver?

This whole business shrieks of, at the very least, incompetence and - at worst - a lovely scam. It is hard to believe that, in this day and age, it is not possible for the police to accurately determine - in real time - since they have computers in their cars - whether or not a person's licence is valid, or truly invalid. 

So. If you get stopped under Section 165, ask a few pertinent questions, such as:

"I may have collected points on my licence, but I was never banned, I know that for a fact. Consequently I'm fully entitled to drive, irrespective of the word 'revoked' on your computer screen. Is this not the case, officer? That I'm entitled to drive - unless I've been banned?"

"Now, I realise that you have no way of knowing the truth in this respect, but let me please explain something to you. Something you, apparently, don't seem to realise. Under Common Law, which trumps the Section 165 Statute Law, the seizure of my property can only LAWFULLY occur if a Court of Law has said so." 

"Now what, specific, Court of Law has authorised you to seize my, specific, car? You are telling me that a Statute authorises you. I'm telling you that Common Law does not authorise you officer... absent, that is, a specific Court Order - and that Common Law trumps Statute Law"

"And I'm telling you something else. That you need to ascertain the truth of this matter, before taking an irrevocable step. Because, put quite simply, if you seize my car, without the authority of a Court of Law, you - personally - will be committing a serious offence. Actually a crime."

" A crime for which you can be fined, and possibly imprisoned. You see officer, if you check up - and I seriously suggest you do for your own sake - you'll see that Common Law does not recognise uniforms. Common Law does not recognise the uniform you are wearing. The one you think protects you. I can assure you it doesn't. Under Common Law each is responsible for their own actions, whatever clothes they may be wearing at the time."

"It may be that you do not believe a word I'm saying. That's up to you, of course. All I'm suggesting is that you fully ascertain your position and rights in this matter, and mine, before taking a step that you could seriously regret. I'm saying this for your benefit, as well as for mine."

"Why don't you check with your superiors? You have a radio.  You can do that right now. Even if they have a smattering of the knowledge of the law, they will tell you to 'hold on a bit''. Try it."

"And, if they have the Internet - which I'm sure they do - they can read - right here and now - which explains it sufficiency well as to - at the very least - set some alarm bells ringing in someone's head. Alarm bells that would suggest what I'm saying could very well be correct, and that you should check the situation out a lot more thoroughly before having my car towed away. I'll quite happily wait while they do that. It would only take them a quarter of an hour, or so."

"And, while we are waiting, I suggest that you should seriously consider what that word 'revoked' means. The one on your screen. And how, it can possibly have any actual meaning at all. If it said 'banned' or 'temporarily suspended', one could visualise it having a reasonable meaning. But what, in heaven's name, could I possibly have done, such as to have my licence REVOKED? Revoked, officer, has the same root as the word IRREVOCABLE. As in 'I could never drive again'"

"In summary, officer, you would be acting UNLAWFULLY, and YOU could be prosecuted, for seizing my car without the authority of a court. If there were to be a Court Hearing, the number of points on my licence would be established correctly. If it turns out that I have 12 points or more, then the Court would issue authority, to you, to LAWFULLY seize my car. If it turns out that I have less than 12 points, the Court would agree that I was still perfectly entitled to drive. Is this not the case?"

"That's why we have courts, officer. Isn't it? Isn't that precisely why we have courts.  Yes?"

" And, if I may, I'll add one further point. You stopped me while I was driving. You say that I'm not entitled to drive. In that case you should be booking me for driving without a licence - as well as seizing this vehicle. And you haven't mentioned this, have you? How can that be? How can it be that you can just seize the car, without also charging me with driving without a licence? I suggest that you know, by experience, that I'm perfectly entitled to drive, and that the DVLA information is simply out of date or erroneous. How many times have you stopped someone, seized their vehicle, and yet NOT CHARGED WITH DRIVING WITHOUT A LICENCE?"

"On the other hand you know that charging me with driving without a licence won't stick. That can be the only reason why you are not bothering to do that. And that means you must be aware you have no authority to seize my car, for the same reasons."

"Officer, acting on erroneous information will be no defence if you are charged with UNLAWFULLY seizing my property. For the simple reason that you should have established the veracity of the information, before taking action."

"In summary, and with due respect, I suggest that you need to establish exactly how many points are attached to my licence before taking any action. If you can't do that, then your best, and safest, bet would be to book me on the assumption that I'm driving without a licence, and to let me continue on my way, and to let a Court of Law decide the matter. I'm sure a court will impose a stiffer penalty if - upon investigation - it is established that I truly am diving while unlicenced."

(They know the score. They are not stupid. They know, deep down)

If the policeman insists that s/he has to apply SOCPA Section 165 then point out

"Officer. That is a Statute. It is the law-of-the-sea. And we are on dry land. SOCPA, therefore, has no applicability. You are way outside your lawful authority and any jurisdiction. You may not know or understand it, but I do. And I will make sure my rights are upheld. That's a promise. And, because you and your colleague are personally taking this action, then it is you and your colleague I will hold personally responsible. I've given you many reasons to check up on your proposed actions, so you cannot claim you have not been told. You need to discover the immense difference between Statutes and Law."

If they respond "Are you a Lawyer then?", the response is "No, but I understand Common Law, and you - quite obviously - don't"

(Note: There are a few Policemen who actually know all this. And they shake their heads in disgust at it all. However they are outnumbered/swamped by colleagues who have no idea what they are doing. We must support these few decent Coppers, by supporting ourselves. They will gain strength from actions we take, such as this)  



Veronica: of the Chapman family

January, 2009