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Police Stops & Home Entry

Dealing with the police can be intimidating. Understanding the reason the police want to talk to you can help matters to go smoothly.

Police Stops

If the police stop someone they are required to...

  • show proper identification when not in uniform
  • provide their name and badge number if asked
  • explain why they are stopping the person
  • only use force if it is necessary and allowed by law

Person Stops

The police can stop someone walking down the street for different reasons, including just to chat or to investigate a crime.

The police may walk up to you just to engage you in conversation. You do not have to talk with the police if you do not want to. If you want to go on your way, ask if you are free to go. If the police say you cannot go, you are being detained or arrested - otherwise you can simply leave.

The police can detain you for a short period of time if they are investigating a recent or ongoing crime. They must have reasonable grounds to believe that you are connected to that crime.

You do not have to identify yourself just because the police stopped you. However, if the police think you have broken a law you should identify yourself. If you do not identify yourself in these cases the police can decide to arrest you to establish your identity. For example, they may need your name to give you a ticket for jaywalking.

Traffic Stops

  • for routine checks to make sure that the driver has a licence, the car is registered with Saskatchewan Government Insurance, the vehicle is in good working order and to make sure the driver is not drunk or on drugs
  • for safety concerns, such as the trunk being open or something hanging from the car
  • if the police see that the driver or other people in the car are not obeying traffic safety laws such as those that require wearing a seatbelt, signalling when changing lanes, stopping at stop signs and red lights or following speed limits
  • if the car has a headlight, tail-light or brake-light that is not working
  • if the police are looking for a suspect or a witness to a crime and the car and/or the people match the description
  • if police have reason to believe that the driver is impaired by drugs or alcohol or is over the legal limit
  • if the driver is driving dangerously
  • if there is a warrant for the arrest of someone in the car

Q

What should I do if the police stop my car?

A

  • If you see red lights and/or hear a siren, remain calm and safely pull over to the right side of the road (or nearest edge of the roadway on one way streets).
  • Stay in your car and encourage any passengers to also stay in the car and wait for the police to come to your car.
  • If the police ask for your licence and vehicle registration you must give it to them. If you need to reach for them tell the police where they are first.
  • The police may ask you to provide a breath sample - it is a criminal offence to refuse to do so.
  • The police may issue you a ticket. If you feel the reason is vague or unclear, ask the officer for details.
  • Avoid getting in an argument. You still have options after you have received a ticket. If you think the police have done something wrong you can make a complaint later. Get the police officer’s name and badge number and write down what happened as soon as you can.
  • If you receive a ticket, accept it calmly. Accepting the ticket is not an admission of guilt.
  • Other than identifying yourself and providing your licence and registration, you are not required to say anything to the police, unless you have been involved in an accident. In the case of an accident, drivers, passengers and witnesses are required to provide a statement to the police if requested. Do not lie to the police.

Entering a Residence

The police can enter a residence if they...

  • have an arrest warrant or a search warrant
  • are chasing someone to arrest them and see that person enter the residence
  • need to enter right away to protect people or prevent evidence from being destroyed
  • are answering a 911 call or giving first-aid
  • are invited in

If the police come into your house - and you do not think they have good reason to - do not try to stop them. You should tell them you do not agree to them coming in. Get their names and badge numbers. Write down what happened as soon as you can, in as much detail as you can. Then, if you want to make a complaint later, you will have the information you need.

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PLEA gratefully acknowledges our primary core funder the Law Foundation of Saskatchewan for their continuing and generous support of our organization.