Police Officers may stop people who are driving when they observe an offence against the Criminal Code of Canada, provincial Highway Traffic Act, municipal by-laws or any other laws, or if the person or vehicle matches the description of someone in an investigation. Officers may stop people who are driving to ensure compliance with traffic laws and safety standards such as sobriety, possessing a valid driver’s licence and insurance, and the mechanical fitness of the vehicle.
Officers may stop pedestrians on the street if they observe an offence, if they are investigating a complaint, or if they believe the person has committed or is about to commit a crime. These interactions usually involve the officer asking for your name, address and identification, and other questions that are appropriate to their investigation.
Officers also routinely walk in their patrol areas and speak to people on the street. These contacts are not considered stops, and the goal is for the officers and the community to become more familiar with one another.
What to Expect When Stopped :
Each situation is unique and the police officer will alter his or her approach to fit the circumstances. At all times, police officers must work within the Code of Conduct under the regulations of the Police Services Act, the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Regulations and Procedures of the Brockville Police Service, and other legislation.
A Brockville Police Officer:
- will provide his or her name and badge number upon request.
- who is not in uniform will present proper identification; you may ask to examine the badge and photo identification so that you are satisfied the person is a police officer.
- will tell you why you are being stopped.
- will only use the force allowed by law (for example, to stop an offence, effect the arrest of a suspect or maintain custody of a prisoner).
- will generally arrest a person for a crime committed in the officer’s presence, or when the officer has reasonable grounds to believe the person has already committed or is about to commit a crime.
Common Reasons to Be Stopped
A person might be stopped if a police officer has reason to believe the person:
- Has committed a crime.
- Is about to commit a crime.
- Has evidence of a crime.
- Children can also be stopped and apprehended for curfew violations if they are not accompanied by their parent or by a specified person 18 years of age or older authorized by the parent.
It is unlawful for children under or apparently under age 16 to be present (and unaccompanied as noted above) in any public place or a place of public entertainment in Ontario between the hours of midnight and 6:00 a.m.
As in traffic stops, other reasons to be stopped include officers enforcing laws, looking for information in an investigation, or safety concerns.
Things to Do When Stopped
Again, officers are trained to place a great deal of emphasis on their safety and yours so they can do the job of safeguarding the public. Many of these guidelines conform to safety procedures, based on long experience, that officers are trained to follow.
- Keep your hands where the officer can see them. Don’t put your hands in your pocket or clothing.
- Stay put and stay calm. Don’t walk or run from police. Don’t touch any police officer.
- Cooperate with the officer. Don’t get into an argument.
What should I do when I am stopped while driving?
For many reasons, traffic stops are the most dangerous aspect of police work. More officers are injured or killed conducting routine traffic stops than any other function. Officers must interpret the actions and behaviour of the occupants of the vehicle, as well as constantly monitoring other traffic. For these reasons, officers are trained in making safe vehicle stops and to follow a set procedure. You may be concerned about the way they approach your car, but it is not meant to intimidate you.
If you are directed to stop by a police officer
- Slow down and pull as far off to the right side of the road as possible.
- Stay inside your vehicle unless directed otherwise by the officer.
- Do what the officer tells you to do.
- Keep your hands where the officer can see them and don’t make any sudden movements.
- Be prepared to produce the documents the officer asks you for. As the driver of a car, you are required by law, upon demand of a police officer, to surrender a valid driver’s licence, the vehicle and plate portions of the vehicle permit and proof of insurance to the officer.
- If a document is in the glove compartment, your wallet or purse, tell the officer that you are getting the document from there before you reach for it.
If you receive a ticket, accept it calmly. Accepting the ticket is not an admission of guilt. As the driver, you are also accountable for the conduct of your passengers, especially if they are acting disorderly, throwing things out the window or hanging out of the window. You must also ensure all passengers are wearing seat belts.
Does the police officer have to tell me the reason for the stop?
YES! Police officers are trained to tell people the reason why they were stopped or detained.
Police at Your Home:
The police can enter a residence if:
- They have the consent of a resident, or
- They have an arrest or search warrant, or
- There are exigent circumstances, such as if they are in fresh pursuit of a suspect who just entered a residence, or there are circumstances where officers believe there is a threat to the safety of any person or loss of evidence would result if they waited for a warrant, or
- They are performing public safety functions, such as answering a 9-1-1 call, rendering first aid, preventing serious harm to a person or property, or locating a person in need of protection
What are my rights if I am arrested?
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms sets out rights to protect you if you are arrested or detained by the police. These rights include:
- The right to be informed promptly of the reason you have been arrested or detained.
- The right to retain and instruct counsel (a lawyer) without delay and to be informed of that right.
- The right to telephone any lawyer you wish.
- The right to free advice from a legal aid lawyer.
The words “without delay” are interpreted to mean once the situation is in control and the safety of everyone is ensured. If you are under 18 years of age, you have the additional right of being able to speak with a parent or other appropriate adult as soon as possible. The police must inform and explain these rights to you.
What if I have a complainant about the police?
You can complain about a policy or service provided by the Brockville Police Service or about the conduct of a police officer. The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) serves as a civilian oversight of the external complaint process. The role of OPIRD is to make sure that public complaints are dealt with fairly, efficiently and effectively. To obtain an OIPRD complaint form or further information on how to file a complaint you can visit any police station, access the Brockville Police Service website, or access the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) website. Generally, complaints must be filed within 6 months of when the incident took place.
To reach the Office of the Independent Police Review Director:
Toll-free phone: 1-877-411-4773
Facsimile: (416) 416-327-8332
Office of the Independent Police Review Director
655 Bay Street, 10th Floor