Is an officer in the armed forces "authorised" to direct traffic?

So I made the perilous journey to work unscathed this mornign after passing my test in Sept and getting myself sorted/prepared to commute.After a fairly uneventful journey most of the way I reached the traffic lights to go straight on from Avenue road over Macclesfield bridge into Regents Park at about 8:15am. Filtering past the traffic on the way to the front of the queue I passed a horsedrawn carriage (presumably belonging to the Household Cavalry regiment) carrying some army personnel in dress uniform from the glimpse I caught and infront 2 mounted army personnel dressed in khaki rather than dress uniform. The whole group seemed to have become separated by a few cars each too. So I reached the front of the queue at the now red light and notice another mounted officer has trotted into the middle of the junction and signalled the traffic crossing the junction to stop (well they never really got to go because he did so as their light turned green) and he beckons me on against the red light. I was a little unsure as to whether army personnel come under “authorised persons” who can direct traffic in the Highway Code or Road Traffic act (having never seen reference in the former and not having studied the latter in detail) but since the other traffic on the green light obeyed I decided it was safe and cautiously obliged on being asked the second time to move.

Did I do the right thing? Can the armed forces tell you to ignore a red light? Why were they in such a hurry as to want to jump the lights with his group (perhaps to get them back together before entering the park)? Anyone know?

As far as I’m aware, only a police officer can tell you to go through a red light - a traffic bod told me this when we were talking about moving out of the way of emergency services on blues and twos at traffic lights.

He said that if an ambulance or fire engine asked me to move, I could well be prosecuted for running a red light.

i’m sure a road traffic worker is also an authorised person for directing traffic…


if you’re hearing talking ambulances or fire engines then you’d probably get prosecuted for a lot more than that…


Soldiers have guns. What else do you need to know…

I think the issue of letting emergency vehicles by is pretty clear in the highway code, you should pull in to the left if it is safe and legal to do so (therefore you shouldn’t cross the white stop line at a red light to do so). I guess if you cant there arent many instances at the entrance to a red light junction where they couldnt use the other lane to get by as long as any oncoming traffic is sensible and pulls in.

and no I dont think the armour in my jacket is rated for protection from flying bullets:crazy:

Highways Code - 105You MUST obey signals given by police officers, traffic officers, traffic wardens (see ‘Signals by authorised persons’) and signs used by school crossing patrols.

Don’t see any gun toting guardsmen there.

No member of the Armed Forces has the authority to direct traffic. As mentioned already, it’s basically just the rozzers. Service personel have no extra authoritys/powers and are the same as the rest of the population.

Unless in times of civil unrest or in a time of war / transition to war and then only as directed by the governement or local Police authority.

Yep - I’d be a bit worried if I see troops directing the traffic - as that means there has either been a military coup or we are under martial law! :w00t:

None of these things seems an entirely unlikely prospect these days. . . :w00t:

:hehe: A military coup would keep the Westminster lot on their toes! Besides, we couldn’t do a worse job. Might even put the Great back into Great Britain!

In the words of Jeremy Clarkson, “How hard can it be?” :hehe:

Well here’s what the police sgt in charge of bikesafe has to say about it after I emailed using their “ask us a question form” this morning. Pretty impressed with the speed of response actually!

If the person concerned is a civilian, he would not have the power to beckon you through a red light. This power is only for a police officer or traffic warden on duty.
However, if the person was part of the Ministry of Defence police, he would have the same powers as a Met Police officer.
So the answer is, if he was an Army man, he should not have done it, if he was a Police man, he can do it. From what you say, it is more likely that he is in the HC and should not have done so.
If you chose to ignore this sort of thing in the future, you are within your rights to do so, just watch out for a horse sitting on your lap…!
Paul Mostyn

Off you go then Rob - you’re in charge:)

The point is, that if you DID get a ticket, and replied saying that a man in the army with a gun told you to move…not sure they’d follow the prosecution through.

Wouldn’t the Military Police have the power too?

The bikesafe officer mentions Mod Plod but they are a different animal;)

Nope, RMP, RAF Police, & Navy Regulating Branch don’t have powers over the general public, apart from a few very rare occurances…and MOD Police only have constabulary powers at MOD establishments, when acting in connection with and investigation or incident originating at an MOD establishment, when asked to assist the local Home Office police, or in connection with terrorist incidents - there are a couple of other exemptions but they are far too weary and boring to mention here…

What he said !

:w00t: It will stay as an idea thank you! :smiley:

PMSL - :laugh: :hehe: Now that would worthy of a picture!

what about the billingsgate market constabulary ??? they direct traffic , can i ignore them??

lol i always see the hc walking there horses round in the morning and they always stop the traffic, i can understand the reason for doing it security wise and always assumed they were allowed to, hmmm wonder what they’d do nxt time if i tell em to bog off