Saturday, April 5, 2014

Consensual Encounters

Sometimes we contact people in the field and have no legal authority to arrest or detain them.  Still, we can contact them and talk to them.  Any person can stop and chat with another as long as the stop and conversation is voluntary on both persons.

Consensual encounters don’t require any justification.  We can have a consensual encounter at any time, as long as the other party consents to the encounter.  The key is that we ask people and they are free to decline.  The person is not under compulsion to obey us by our words, actions or body language.

The key is that the person being encountered is at liberty to ignore the police officer and continue about his business.  If you order the person to stay, or order them to give you identification then they are no longer having a consensual encounter with you.  Consensual encounters are a good way to contact a person who are prospective suspects, but not yet suspects; that’s what the SGT Says.

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