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  • Sovereign citizen advice

    Hello.

    I'm a British Police officer, a Detective Constable, working in the South-East of England. Long time, no post.

    Over on this side of the Pond (or at least in my bit) we have had a sudden upsurge in people who identify themselves as sovereign citizens, or who at least identify with the belief system. This ideology is not something that has had really any media exposure in the UK and the sudden appearance of people screaming "I DO NOT CONSENT" for no apparent reason during traffic stops and going on about Admiralty Law in interview has left my colleagues more than a little bemused.

    Any road, I'm hoping to knock together a shortish presentation for colleagues who have initial contact with, and then who have to interview, sovereign citizens. I'm not looking for a description of sovereign citizen core beliefs; I'm hoping that colleagues in the US (and indeed, anywhere else) can provide me with advice on techniques you have found effective in de-escalating contacts and generally establishing an effective rapport whilst still acting in a professional manner.

    Many thanks.
    I'm a little bit waayy, a little bit wooah, a little bit woosh, I'm a geezer.

  • #2
    You may find some useful information here.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have had a few incidents involving sovereign citizens, and ironically all were during traffic stops. The key is to keep your composure and not let your guard down. Depending on how radical of a group they are in, they can be anywhere to passively resistant, to down right dangerous. Often they will try and hand you bogus documents that try to validate what they are saying. Just stick to what you know and if you know a crime has been committed, then don't be afraid to act, regardless of who they say they are. Many times the encounters may require you to use force to control the situation. Don't let that scare you and keep safety first and foremost.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Amigo1342 View Post
        I have had a few incidents involving sovereign citizens, and ironically all were during traffic stops. The key is to keep your composure and not let your guard down. Depending on how radical of a group they are in, they can be anywhere to passively resistant, to down right dangerous. Often they will try and hand you bogus documents that try to validate what they are saying. Just stick to what you know and if you know a crime has been committed, then don't be afraid to act, regardless of who they say they are. Many times the encounters may require you to use force to control the situation. Don't let that scare you and keep safety first and foremost.
        Always, Always, Always call for bacakup
        Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

        My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
          Always, Always, Always call for bacakup
          Is that like a bakalava?
          September 11, 2001 - All gave some, some gave all. Never forget -- Never forgive.......... RIP Brothers and Sisters.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Iowa #1603 View Post
            Always, Always, Always call for bacakup
            When I heard an old trooper say to call for the nearest backup when dealing with these types, I knew it was serious.
            Originally posted by Ceridwen
            Just one would be stingy of me, I'd have to get two. For the children.

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            • #7
              Most will listen to a Sheriff's Deputy before a city officer also. They believe a deputy has more say-so, superiority, jurisdiction, yadda yadda yadda than the city officer or even a State Trooper.

              I had a stop a few weeks ago (bogus plate), called for backup, deputy arrived. In the end, the deputy said everything I said, verbatim, but the Adam-Henry listened to him. Long story short... Towed vehicle, here's your "official" documents plus a few pink ones from me, take the ankle express, see you in court.
              Ask them, Tell them, Make them.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by FiVo3 View Post
                Most will listen to a Sheriff's Deputy before a city officer also. They believe a deputy has more say-so, superiority, jurisdiction, yadda yadda yadda than the city officer or even a State Trooper.
                That is because the Office of the Sheriff is mentioned in most State Constitutions



                Originally posted by So Fla Cop View Post
                Is that like a bakalava?
                Something like that
                Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                Comment


                • #9
                  Contact the Southern Poverty Law Center. They have a quarterly publication available only to LEOs, and I'm sure that being a LEO on the other side of the pond would qualify. They will verify your employment before sending you the publication. All of their articles focus on extremist groups here in the US, but it would give you insight into the groups' belief systems, anyway.
                  MAC

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mac266 View Post
                    Contact the Southern Poverty Law Center. They have a quarterly publication available only to LEOs, and I'm sure that being a LEO on the other side of the pond would qualify. They will verify your employment before sending you the publication. All of their articles focus on extremist groups here in the US, but it would give you insight into the groups' belief systems, anyway.
                    Thanks Mac-------------------I knew someone had a publication but wasnt' sure if it was SPLC or not and just didn't want to take the time to look
                    Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                    My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I didn't realize there was a Sovereign Citizen following outside of the US. In the US, their rhetoric is usually based on a distorted view of US history and legal system. Nonetheless, there is no point to trying to figure out their ideology. For a police officer's purposes it's completely irrelevant.

                      I think the biggest problem is it's a distraction. Some of these guys actually sound like they know what they're talking about, so an officer might get caught off guard. The thing to keep in mind is to treat it like any other encounter/traffic stop with a non compliant driver. If they hand you some kind of bogus documents or refuse altogether, I would get them out of the car and in handcuffs as soon as your backup arrives under suspicion of having fictitious documents or whatever the case.

                      The main thing is not to get distracted by their silly rhetoric. It's nonsense. Treat them as if they were a car full of al-qaeda telling you that Allah does not consent to this traffic stop. They're just as dangerous, and they're arguments hold just as much weight.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As Iowa mentioned. ,They tend to listen aleast alittle more to the Sheriffs Office than others, Its also because the sheriff is elected by the people where they live and not considered as much a outsider like the troopers or even city police can be moving between jobs.

                        Also always watch if they have them there,but bumper stickers will normally give you a real good sign of the mentality of the people inside the car
                        .If its a rainbow sticker it might be Monty or a Conservator of the Peace,If it shows a AR 15 and says you can take it from my cold dead hands. Pay alittle closer attention.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by allen_gamble View Post
                          I didn't realize there was a Sovereign Citizen following outside of the US. In the US, their rhetoric is usually based on a distorted view of US history and legal system. Nonetheless, there is no point to trying to figure out their ideology. For a police officer's purposes it's completely irrelevant.
                          They exist here as well but they have different names for themselves. They sometimes go as 'freemen' or 'citizen of Caledonia' or some such rubbish. Their ideas are similar. They believe that the Constitution of Australia was never lawfully enacted by the British Parliament, that local government is not mentioned in the constitution and therefore doesn't have a right to exist and that they only have to follow laws that are made under the terms of the 'Imperial Acts Application Act'. They believe that they can only be charged with common law offences even in places where all common law offences have been abolished.

                          Mostly they try to use these arguments to get out of traffic tickets. They aren't quite as dangerous as the US movement seems to be.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            To the OP---if you're going to contact the Southern Poverty Law Center, keep in mind they are a left-leaning organization that has its own agenda. Personally I equate them with the ACLU here which does little if anything to support police so I'd take their data with a "grain of salt".
                            As to your Soverign Citizen problem---- in the U.S. they're considered an extremist group, relying on strict interpretation of our Constitution which accounts for why they refuse to recognize non-elected, local authority. I don't know how that would equate in a country that has a monarchy except to assume they don't recognize it or any appointed official. In any case as others have said consider any contact with them as potentially dangerous, ALWAYS have back-up, preferably armed, don't get into any philosophical discussions with them, if you see a crime act on it & let your "system" deal with the suspects arguments & protests over how he/she was treated.

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                            • #15
                              we have had a sudden upsurge in people who identify themselves as sovereign citizens
                              That's incredibly ironic if you think about it.

                              I have it a tad easier here because I work for an elected Sheriff, who's authority is generally recognized by our local sovereigns even if the laws we enforce aren't always.

                              Advice given above is generally sound: Don't debate with them. Issue your citation, summons or however it works over there and move on. If they decline to comply use your force escalation until they comply or you can arrest them. Then let the system deal with them.

                              We had a guy pulled over last weekend for simple expired registration (expired for a year and a half) who refused to cooperate. We ended up breaking his window and dragging him out of the truck. Make sure you stay within the law and within your department policy, don't debate with them and keep the contact moving forward.

                              ALWAYS have back-up, preferably armed,
                              I've heard stories out of Arizona that sovereigns will send out a bait car with no plates or expired plates, then have a chase car marked like law enforcement and try to arrest officers who pull over the bait car.
                              Last edited by tanksoldier; 07-13-2014, 05:57 PM.
                              "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

                              "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet

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