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“I can think of no state of human misery that could not be made instantly worse by the arrival on the scene of a policeman.” - Brendan Behan.

The police are there to uphold the law fairly and firmly. You have certain rights in any dealings with the police.

General Points

  • Be polite at all times. It doesn't cost anything, and it will make life a lot easier
  • If you don’t understand what is going on, don't understand the questions they are asking you, or don't understand the terms, phrases they are using you, ask them.
  • If you are accused of an offence, always ask to speak to a solicitor / lawyer before you make a statement.


In some countries the police is a lot more corrupt than in others. It's always best to avoid baksheesh or situations that can lead you in trouble (think drugs). If you know you are in trouble some hard cash might help to get you out of a situation that could easily get out of hand. Dealing with one cop is a lot easier than dealing with 10 of them in a police station and let's not even start talking about judges.

Know what you're dealing with. In a place like Finland or the Netherlands it would be very unwise to offer a cop a 50 euro bill.

The most corrupt countries in 2013 (including a three-way tie for first)

T-1. Somalia (8)

T-1. North Korea (8)

T-1. Afghanistan (8)

4. Sudan (11)

5. South Sudan (14)

6. Libya (15)

7. Iraq (16)

T-8. Turkmenistan (17)

T-8. Syria (17)

T-8. Uzbekistan (17)

The least corrupt countries in 2013:

T-1. Denmark (91)

T-1. New Zealand (91)

T-3. Finland (89)

T-3. Sweden (89)

T-5. Norway (86)

T-5. Singapore (86)

7. Switzerland (85)

8. Netherlands (83)

T-9. Australia (81)

T-9. Canada (81)


European Union


United States

United Kingdom

  • Police in the United States can be difficult. Read a guide about dealing with the Police there.
  • You and the Police - a useful little guide to things you might need to know about the police in the United Kingdom.
  • The Liberty Guide to provide information and support to individuals and organizations who wish to understand and enforce their rights under the Human Rights Act 1998.
  • Citizens Guide detailing police powers.