Communication with police happens much more often than we’d like to, that’s why it’s so important to know your rights, especially if this communication occurs without your initiative.
There are three main principles you should remember if a police officer stops you:
- don’t provoke
- don’t offend
- don’t run away
On the other hand, a policeman should act courteously, introduce himself or herself and he or she shouldn’t require personal documents without obvious reason.
The Managing Partner of the Rezultat Law Firm Maxim Polishkevych explains: A police officer is entitled to stop a citizen on the street and ask to show identification documents, to carry out the search or perform any other actions only in case he or she has relevant grounds for it. For example, those include: a person has a resemblance to the man wanted; a person is staying at the place of the crime or in a restricted area; there are visible signs which indicate that a person has committed a crime. Under the absence of such grounds, a policeman is not entitled to stop you and require any documents.
You are not obliged to have any identification documents with you but it’s very advisable, as it can solve many problems in your communication with police. A police officer is entitled to take you to the police station for your identification and you may spend there up to 3 hours. If you don’t have any documents with you, tell him or her your surname as well as your residence address distinctly, and ask a policeman to call your relatives to confirm your personal data.
The main function of the police is to ensure the rule of law. You should realize that without a reason a policeman isn’t entitled to require anything from you. This inner awareness is the cornerstone of your position in communication with police. If you realize that no one may require even to show your documents unreasonably, and you act appropriately and positively, a policeman won’t require more than he or she in entitled to.
If you are detained by police, you have right not to give testimony or explanation about yourself, your family members or close relatives. This right is guaranteed by Article 63 of the Constitution of Ukraine.
If being detained you’ve decided to have a lawyer’s services, you should know your rights: before your lawyer’s arrival, no one may conduct the interrogation or require any explanations.