Police are hired by the communities they serve to keep the community safe. They must treat everyone the same. They can help in an emergency. Their other duties include things like investigating crimes, keeping the peace and helping victims of crime.
The Regina Police Service, in partnership with the Regina Open Door Society and other community partners, has produced a number of videos to help newcomers understand the role of police officers in Canada. The video series is available in a number of languages.
Police work to keep communities safe and investigate crimes. If there is a good reason, they can arrest people and charge them with an offence. In an emergency you can contact the police and they can help.
To do their job the police may stop people. Sometimes they will stop people who are walking down the street or driving a car. Sometimes police will go to people’s homes. Unless the police have a reason to stop you - or you are driving a car - you do not have to talk to the police. You may want to talk to them to help them with their investigation. There are also rules about when the police can come into your home.
When police are investigating a crime they may detain someone. It is not the same as being arrested but it does mean that you are not free to leave.
If the police want to do more than just stop you briefly, in some situations they can arrest you. The police must have a reason to arrest you. The law determines when the police are allowed to arrest you. If you are arrested you will be told why.
As part of their duties, the police look for evidence of crimes through searches. Searches are only allowed in certain situations. Even when searches are allowed there are rules that must be followed.
You have the right to make a complaint against the police. It will be looked into by an agency that is independent of the police.