I’m always struck by the different types of policing across the world. When it comes to everyday interactions between police officers and civilians on street corners or at non-threatening traffic stops, there seems to be a few different approaches.
In South Africa, our police by and large take a soft approach with civilians during routine, non-threatening interactions. This means that you can talk to them freely, engage with them with no fear, and even disagree with them pretty forcefully when they are operating a non-threatening scene. At traffic stops it is routine to see civilians share a joke and a laugh with police officers. Of course officers will be more strict and forceful in crisis times or in emergencies, but when there is no threat, they treat civilians very well and can share a joke.
How do police officers treat civilians where you’re from? Do you trust the police?