Personating Peace Officer

Personating Peace Officer

The offence of personating a peace officer is outlined in section 130(1) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of personating a peace officer when they falsely represent themselves to be a peace or public officer or when they use a badge, article of a uniform, or piece of equipment in a way that causes others to believe they are a peace or public officer.

Peace officers include mayors, wardens, prison staff, sheriffs, justices of the peace, police officers and constables, and bailiffs.

Public officers include customs officers, Canadian Forces officers, and RCMP officers.

Examples

Person A wears a police uniform and directs traffic on the highway, pulling over some cars and asking drivers for their identification.

Person B installs police lights and a siren on the top of her car to drive above the speed limit and swerve through traffic to get to work faster.

Cases

R. v. Tobin, 2012 ONCJ 315

In R. v. Tobin, the accused was charged with personating a peace officer when he gave a female police constable a business card complete with badge and division number making himself out to be a police constable.

R. v. Palinker, 2008 CanLII 15776 (ON SC)

In R. v. Palinker, the accused was convicted of one count of personating a peace officer when he flashed his wallet and driver’s licence at a young woman and told her he was an undercover officer before sexually assaulting her. 

Offence Specific Defence(s)

Is a Peace Officer

Where the person actually is a peace or public officer, have not committed the offence of personating a peace officer by representing themselves as such or wearing a badge, article of uniform, or piece of equipment that leads others to believe they are a peace or public officer.

Acting or in Costume

Where a person is wearing a peace or public officer’s uniform or badge because they are acting in a play, movie, or video, or because they are at a costume party or it is Halloween, and they do not attempt to make others believe they are a legitimate peace or public officer, they have not committed the offence of personating a peace officer.

No Representation

Where a person believes another to be a peace or public officer, but this second person has never represented themselves as such then this second person has not committed the offence of personating a peace officer. For example, if person A falsely believes that person B is a police constable, but person B has not done anything that would lead others to believe this and has never made themselves out to be a police constable, then person B has not committed the offence of personating a peace or public officer.

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