Statement of Commitment
The Hamilton Police Service is committed to fostering a strong culture of human rights and inclusiveness in policing in Hamilton.
Please click here for the Hamilton Police Service’s policies and procedures on Equal Opportunity, Anti-Racism and Anti-Discrimination.
Please click here for the Hamilton Police Service’s self-identification survey.
Contacting the Police
The phone number for Non-Emergencies, such as thefts, lost identification, frauds,
and car accidents is 905-546-4925.
The Hamilton Police Service Emergency phone number is 9-1-1.
When you call 9-1-1, an operator will answer your call by asking:
“9-1-1 Emergency . Do you require Police, Fire , or Ambulance?”
Should you be unable to communicate for any reason, police will be immediately sent to the address the phone number is assigned to. If the 9-1-1 operator does not understand the language you are speaking, they will try to determine what language it is. If the operator can determine the language that you are speaking, you are connected to the Language Line Service. An interpreter who speaks your language will help you to tell the 9-1-1 operator what your emergency is and you will be sent the help you need.
What if I don’t speak or understand English?
For many members of the community, English is a second language. You may want to have a family member or friend assist you in legal matters. Never agree to sign anything in a legal matter unless you fully understand what you are agreeing to.
The Hamilton Police Service utilizes the Language Line Service.
If you do not speak English, HPS will provide you access to interpreters in your own language who will be able to help you. If you are arrested and you do not speak English, the Language Line Service is also used to inform you of your right to counsel, to find out if you have any medical conditions, and to explain the conditions of your release from custody. A black identification Language Line Service book, placed in each Division Booking Cell area, explains how you can identify the language you speak.
What do I do if Police come to my home?
Your home is a very sacred place. In fact, Canadian courts recognize the sanctity of a person’s home. There may be times the police may not understand or know the different traditions of a specific culture. It is very important to communicate your needs to the officer. For example, tell the officer if you have designated prayer areas. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something. Also, don’t be afraid to explain specific things that the officer may not understand.
The police can enter your home when:
- They are invited
- There is an emergency situation, such as when you call 9-1-1
- A legal document permitting the entry is provided, such as a Search Warrant
What do I need to know if an officer stops me while I'm driving?
Police have the authority to stop a car at any time to determine if the driver has a valid driver’s licence, has consumed alcohol or drugs, that the vehicle is mechanically fit and/or has valid insurance. The most likely reason the police will stop a vehicle is to investigate a traffic offence. Our officers are trained to advise you of the reason why you were stopped or detained. Traffic stops are considered to be 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 ocupants 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 vehicle. Please note traffic stops are conducted in the best interest of public and officer safety.
Reasons an officer may stop your vehicle
- Moving Violation: speeding, failure to stop at red light or stop sign, improper lane changes, following too closely to another vehicle
- Non-Moving Violation: failing to wear seat belts, broken brake lights, or failure to produce a valid drivers licence, vehicle registration, or proof of insurance
- Criminal Investigations: Y ou or your vehicle and/or its occupants may match the description of a person the officer is looking for
- Impaired (i.e. intoxicated), D angerous, C areless, or D isracted D riving
- R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired D riving Everywhere) S pot Checks
- Public Safety
What should I do if an officer directs me to stop
- Slow down and pull as far to the right side of the road as possible
- stay inside your vehicle unless directed differently by the officer
- follow the officers instructions
- keep your hands where the officer can see them; avoid making any sudden movements
- be prepared to produce your driver’s licence, the vehicle and plate portions of the vehicle permit, and proof of vehicle insurance
- if a document is in the glove compartment, your purse/wallet, or out of sight, advise the officer before you reach for it
Know Your Responsibilities As A Driver
- as the driver of the car you are required by law to surrender your driver’s licence, vehicle ownership, and proof of insurance at the request of an officer
- as the driver you are responsible for the conduct of your passengers, especially if they are acting disorderly
- as the driver you are responsible for ensuring all passengers 16 and under are wearing seat belts
What should I do if an officer approaches me on the street?
In the interest of fostering healthy community relations, police officers may initiate contact with citizens outside the scope of a current or ongoing investigation. Under these circumstances citizens have the right to choose whether or not they engage with police or make the choice to walk away void of any contact or interaction with police.There is new legislation as it pertains to the Collection of Identifying Information. The new rules apply when a police officer is inquiring into offences that have been or might be committed, inquiring into suspicious activities to detect offences or gathering information for intelligence purposes.
You can usually identify police officers by their uniform. You will also encounter police officers who are dressed otherwise than their uniform. If you have doubts about the identity of a police officer, you may ask for their official identification including the officer’s name and badge number as well as their business cards.
Below are some examples why you may be approached by an officer:
- You may have witnessed an incident or been a victim of a crime.
- If you are operating a motor vehicle, riding a bicycle, or walking and committed an offence under the Criminal Code, Provincial Law, or Municipal By-law.
- Police suspect or find you committing an offence.
Do I have to identify myself or answer the officer's questions?
Police officers have the sworn duty to prevent and investigate crimes and to keep the peace. The officer may ask for your name, address, what you are doing, or where you are going. In some cases the officer may ask to see your identification.
Additionally, there is new legislation as it pertains to the Collection of Identifying Information. The new rules apply when a police officer is inquiring into offences that have been or might be committed, inquiring into suspicious activities to detect offences or gathering information for intelligence purposes
Your cooperation with police is greatly appreciated as together we enhance public safety.
What are my rights if I am arrested?
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms sets out Rights to protect all Canadians should you be 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 be informed of that Right
- The Right to telephone any lawyer you wish
- The Right to free advice from a Legal Aid worker
The words “without delay” are interpreted to mean once the situation is under 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 to a parent or other appropriate adult as soon as possible. The police must inform and explain this right to you.
When can an officer search me?
The police have common law authority to search any individual who has been placed under arrest. The officer can search you and the immediate area including your vehicle if your are arrested in one. The police may request a consent search, however you have the Right to refuse and/or consult a lawyer.
How do I file a complaint?
To complain about a policy or service provided to you by the Hamilton Police Service or about the conduct of a police officer, you may submit a formal complaint.
All complaints must be in writing either in a letter or on a standard form, available from any police station or from:
Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD)
655 Bay Street, 10th Floor
Toronto, Ontario M7A 2T4
Toll-free phone: 1-877-411-4773
For more information on the OIPRD
please visit www.oiprd.on.ca
For more information on filing a complaint, click here.
All complaints must be signed by the complainant. Complaints must be generally made within six (6) months of the incident.
Pamphlets outlining the procedure for making a complaint are available at any police station.
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