How to Behave If You Get Involved with Foreign Police

Getting involved with your local police can be very stressful. Getting involved with foreign police is a whole other ball game. Being in a foreign country, especially if you do not speak the language, and finding yourself under arrest, or under the supervision of foreign police can be very confusing, and very scary. It is important that when you find yourself involved with foreign police, that you behave appropriately and do not act irresponsibly. Being on the wrong side of the law if you are innocent can be a very stressful and unpredictable time.

This page will hope to tell you how you should behave if you find yourself involved with foreign police. Behaving correctly is crucial to you being released or receiving fair treatment. It is no secret that many foreign police departments do not take kindly to foreigners breaking the law in their country – in fact, they are far more likely to come down on you much harder and be less forgiving just by virtue of you being a foreigner.

Behaving correctly with the police is important, more so when abroad. Here is how to behave when you find yourself involved with foreign police.

Yes Sir, No Sir

It is always important, even if there is a language barrier between you and the police officers you are dealing with, to maintain a level of respect. While they may not understand English, they may understand words in the language, such as yes, and sir. These words are known universally and signs of respect. By speaking to them in a way you would speak to a police officer at home, you will endear yourself to them, and they will be less likely to punish you to the full extent of their powers.


You must be polite to them. Being polite is far more than speaking softly and properly. It is in your manners. Do not appear rude to them, but rather, appear as polite and innocent as possible. You do not want to give them a reason to come down on you even harder, nor do you want to have them instantly dislike you. Be as polite and genuine as you can with them, as otherwise, you may find them disliking you. If they dislike you, you will instantly find yourself in an awkward and bad position. Avoid creating enemies.

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An attorney is absolutely necessary, as it would be at home. The problem with foreign attorneys is that there may be a language barrier and a translator may be required. That said, however, in some countries with large expatriate communities, you may find a foreign attorney who speaks your language and is willing to represent you. An attorney is crucial to being released and being treated fairly, and additionally, according to the legal specialists at Fighter Law, there are a number of ways that you can beat your case, but these are ways only a trained attorney would know, so you must rely upon them. Always find an attorney, whether home or abroad. You cannot fight the system alone.

Body Language

Considering that there may be language barriers between you and the foreign police officers, you will want to ensure that you do not appear to be trying to be dominant. Police officers from all over the world dislike this, it is their very nature. If you try to dominate them and make yourself the alpha male, you will make them dislike you, and they will go out of their way to be difficult for you. You must be, in a way, subservient to them. Make yourself appear docile and smaller than you are. Do not try to be the big man, trust us, it will be a big mistake.


Once a translator has been arranged and you are brought in for an interview, you will want to be as honest as possible, providing you are innocent. If you are guilty, you may want to not say anything at all and rely upon your attorney to do your talking. In the United States, when a person is being silent in the interview and wishes not to talk, they exercise the fifth amendment. In the United Kingdom, they are entitled to use a ‘no comment’ clause, which means that a person is not obligated to answer the questions put to them by the police.

Know Your Rights

You do not have to be the victim of police brutality or bullying. If you believe you are being pushed around a little too much, and that you think the officers are being gratuitously cruel to you, borderline bullying, then it is important you know what to do. You should tell this to your attorney, and at the first opportunity, you should contact a human rights activist to help you mount a case against the police officers.

Phone Home

Being arrested by foreign police can be up-and-down. In some cases, you may be released that same day, even for a serious charge, whereas in some cases you may be arraigned and held in a foreign prison. Foreign prison is not something that anybody wants to go to, but unfortunately, when dealing with the police, the risk of imprisonment is of course, always present. Phone home and notify your family that you are being held by foreign police so that if you do end up in prison, they can make arrangements to have you released, or at the very least, send you money to make your stay more comfortable.

Do Not Bribe

Many foreigners attempt to bribe foreign police to get themselves out. This doesn’t work out very well for them, and rather, they wind up getting into more trouble. Never try to bribe foreign police – it’s stupid and archaic. It isn’t going to work and you’re just going to end up in even more trouble than you may currently be. Be respectable, polite, and do not attempt to buy your way out of the situation.

Now, with the help of this page, you know exactly how to behave and deal with foreign police. The best way to avoid them, however, is to be on your best behaviour and not put yourself on their radar to begin with. Always behave responsibly when abroad.