Calm Down: P plates are NOT used on NSW Highway Patrol Cars

There’s a lot of discussion online today about a NSW Police Highway Patrol car operating on P Plates – reportedly deceiving passers by using the P Plates to further mask an undercover car – and the media are creating a storm with it.

However, the stories are a long way from the truth it turns out – and rather than just reporting on a photo – EFTM actually spoke to the NSW Police about the photos:

  • Yes, there is an unmarked NSW Highway Patrol vehicle photographed with P plates on it.
  • Yes, these photos were uploaded to Facebook.
  • No, the photos were not taken by a “passer by”
  • No, the vehicle pictured – with P Plates on – was not operational at that time.

You see, the NSW Police are pretty active on Social Media.  And they do a bloody good job at it – a mixture of humour and serious news is how the social accounts seem to spread their content.  Today though, no-one got the joke.

A Police officer thought it would be funny to put the P Plates on the car, Snap a photo, and post it to one of the many “Police in the area” Facebook groups that exist online.  Making the point that the Easter Long weekend double demerit period was still in force, and while the message certainly went viral, it has done so for all the wrong reasons.

If you look (not even closely) at the photo of the front of the car, you can even see a stationary marked Highway Patrol car off to the side.

The story here is not NSW Police using P Plates to trick motorists, the story here is that four people have died on NSW roads this Easter Long weekend, double the same period last year.

94 people have died on NSW roads this year, after a horrific total of 384 in 2016.  Out in regional NSW (the P plate photo was taken in Yass), 69 deaths, compared to the 25 in Metro Sydney.

Oh, and if you’re thinking young P Platers are at the most risk – think again – the highest risk age group is 40 to 59 – the very same people teaching our kids to drive, and in many cases the very age group making more of this photo than is necessary.

Men outnumber women by more than two to one in road deaths, let’s focus on getting people to slow down and stay safe on the roads.

And for the record, the NSW Police do not use P Plates, Surf Boards or any other tricks to disguise Highway Patrol Cars.  But yes, you will see undercover Utes or even vans from time to time – they’re looking for the drug dealers, not people doing 20km/h over the limit.


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  1. Myrtle Jones

    April 19, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Would be a GREAT idea if it was for real… they break the rules.

  2. Craig

    April 19, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    2016’s road toll still seems a long way short of 1994, when I worked for the Police Media Unit and we ran a campaign to end the year with a road toll of less than 610. A 40%+ drop in 20+ years, with how many more thousand cars on the road (?), is quite an endorsement of better vehicle safety, better driver training and law enforcement.

  3. Bevan

    December 12, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    So this ridiculous, it is an offence to display a p plate on a vehicle where the driver is not on a provisional licence, this law has no exceptions. Thousands of young drivers fined hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, you bet. Police doing whatever they want, yeah, that never happens does it? Highway patrol have no significant impact on directly reducing vehicle related deaths, making huge buck by stealing from travellers each and every day and in 2019 they will have luxury cars and 4x4s to do it in, that they are experts at. When are people going to wake up to the disgraceful scam being carried out against us and stop it for good.

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