Ever wondered what’s the slickest way to deal with the Indian police – who to say the least are volatile in nature?
A Redditor mimicked similar sentiments and posed the question: “There are tips for the US, that we choose to remain silent and ask for a lawyer. We should ask “am I detained or free to go?” But this tip doesn’t work in India. Who would happily physically abuse or lock us up or add some cases to our profile? Is there such a tip that works in India if you are innocent and want to fight for your rights?”
Well, fret not cause as always Reddit pulled through with some brilliant answers:
1. “Way back in the early 2000s. I ran a red light in Ludhiana. My uncle would’ve beaten the shit out of me, so I told the cop it’s my uncle’s car dude, let me go. He asked how much I have, I had Rs 10, and my guy even took that from me. Lol. But he did let me go. This is the pro tip: keep “tip” ready.” – azz_kikkr
2. “In India, just talk to them normally and don’t get into an argument with them. That’s it. Have gotten out of many tickets this way without a bribe.” – NoAttentionAtWrk
3. “If you argue with them they make 2x worse for you.” – dark_mage_
4. “A couple of times they let me go, or reduced my fine amount after I accepted that it was my mistake, and I sincerely apologised to them. Also, knowing the language of the land helps immensely.” – neilb4me
5. “Keep saying “Saar” or “Sar jee” (based on the location) before and after every sentence “Saar Sorry Saar” “Saar Emegerency Saar” “Saar license undi, Saar Pollution kuda Saar.” – baadditor
6. “True story, from 2007, Bangalore. I got caught by a constable for riding a bike without a helmet. So, he took away my key. I don’t know what came to me, but when he came to speak I started singing – told him that I am a struggling singer and can’t pay. Then started singing another song. Eventually, after a few songs, he let me go – probably because of irritation. Another reason may be he felt pitiful about my future as a singer. Anyways, got lucky and escaped without penalty.” – dead_tiger
(Yikes, try this at your own risk.)
7. “Bangalore lads seem to have unique solutions to these situations. Another guy waited for the constable to walk a few steps away, smugly, with his bike keys. Then took out a spare key from his pocket, plugged it in, and rode away. Never seen a better bamboozle I swear.” – kubdaNoobda
8. “The ultimate life pro tip that has worked for me in getting me out of many situations with cops is to keep your ego in check. Give him all the respect that he thinks he deserves and a bit more. Never have I ever seen things ending well once the person being caught has said something self-righteous or egoistic. You need to massage cops’ egos while sweet-talking your way out. That’s the only way. You’ve got to play the games.” – Patasa
9. “The constabulary is generally under a lot of pressure from higher-ups. It’s obviously unfair to the citizen when they impose whatever little power they have over them. Obviously, some of them are outright assholes, but most are just under pressure. They are severely underpaid and extremely overworked, hence many of them are driven to bribery, and the easiest way to do it is by scaring an innocent citizen, especially those who visibly belong to the middle/upper-middle class. When faced with such situations, regardless of whether you’re right or wrong ensure that you do the following 2 things:
1. Always be polite, and no snark/ sarcasm/ anger/ frustration. In fact be sweet, ki sir mai student hoon, ya xyz company me kaam karta hoon, paise nahi hain mere paas, etc.
2. Do not be scared. The more you’re scared, the more money they’ll extract. Generally, they may keep insisting or just ask you to stand aside and wait, while they concur with another cop.
During that time, have a normal conversation with them, like how was covid for them, how has their job been, etc. Basically treat them like humans. This has worked well for me every time. A couple of times I’ve been let go with just a warning, even when I was in the wrong. One time the cop asked me for my e-mail id so that he can send me his son’s resume. And another time, while I was in b school, one cop asked for my number so that I can advise his kid on CAT prep.
As for extreme situations, where they say ki thana le jaaonga, If you’re in the right and don’t have anything to hide, insist on going to the station. And politely ask for their identification. There have been multiple instances of people impersonating an officer to make a quick Buck from citizens. A friend of mine was caught by Bangalore police during the recent spate of these random checkings. Dost shakal se hi ganjedi lagta hai, and he had papers and roach on him. Luckily no stuff. He met with such an aggressive situation, and doesn’t know Kannada. He kept his cool through the interaction, refused to show his phone, and when threatened agreed to go to the Thana. The cop just let him go Scot free. The above advice applies even if you were caught doing something illegal (like underage drinking or public urination, not murder obviously). In most cases, it’ll cost you less money.” – creganODI
10. “Don’t want to jinx it, but I’ve never had a bad experience with the police in Mumbai, India. Here are my tips which I believe have helped me navigate cops even when I’ve been in the wrong. Always be friendly. They are human beings. Do not be scared while dealing with them. If you’ve made a mistake, apologise. And smile. I once ran a red signal and was caught. I told the cop that my boss is pissed with me because I’m late for the meeting. He just smiled and let me go. Another time, I was caught with a girl in my car and told him honestly that we both live with our parents. He asked me to get a room (“lodge me jao na”) and let me go. If I had to sum it up, smile, be confident, apologise if you have to and lastly, occasionally, a little “motivation” never hurts.” – I_confess_nothing
The big lesson here: not bribery, but respect is the key to a hassle free police interaction. Our cops are overworked and underpaid as it is, some empathy certainly helps your case.