police & courts

Police officers deal with crimes, and their role is to help communities and keep people safe. There are rules about how police officers should deal with people who they think are breaking the law. Most police officers follow the rules, but sometimes they do not, and young people are treated poorly.

When you have your first encounter with the police, it is not always easy. DO remember that they are there to help. In dealing with the police, it is good to remember these things:

  • Be polite and respectful
  • Stay calm and in control of your words, body language and emotions
  • Don’t get into an argument with the police
  • Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you
  • Keep your hands where the police can see them
  • Don’t run. Don’t touch any police officer
  • Don’t resist even if you believe you are innocent
  • Don’t complain on the scene or tell the police they’re wrong or that you’re going to file a complaint.

If you find yourself in a situation where you think the police are treating you unfairly, remember that it is best to complain afterwards, rather than while you are in police custody. To make your complaint more effective, it is important to:

  • Remember officers’ badge numbers or patrol car numbers
  • Write down everything you remember as soon as possible
  • Find witnesses who support your version of events.  Their names and phone numbers will help.

This section has more information about what happens if you are arrested, what happens in court, and how young people are dealt with by the police.

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