The police (also referred to as cops, pigs, popo, babylon, cherry tops, Five-O, or heat) are uniformed officers responsible for enforcing the law. They ensure public and social order, through the legitimized and restricted use of force. The Police are present in all Grand Theft Auto games.
The main role of the Police in-game is to make crime difficult for the player - and to provide a reliable enemy and a challenge both in and out of missions. They also make the game more realistic. This theme is present throughout the entire series, although the exact details vary between games.
The Police, (and all other forms of law enforcement in the Grand Theft Auto series), have been portrayed as corrupt, lazy, reckless drivers, stupid, selfish, incompetent, and trigger-happy, although the levels of these vary greatly between each game.
The Police works upon a Wanted Level system against the player. If the player is noticed performing a crime, he may gain a Wanted Star (increasing his wanted level). More serious crimes will grant a higher wanted level. Police responses vary depending on the wanted level, ranging from foot chases to calling in the helicopter, the FBI or even the Army.
Relevant offenses include crashing into a police car, shooting pedestrians, having sex with prostitutes in GTA San Andreas, stealing vehicles, entering prohibited areas or occasionally unavoidable participation in certain missions (ex. bank heists). The police will not arrest you for trespassing on private property, traffic offenses (ex. speeding, running red lights-In GTA V you will get arrested for traffic offenses), carrying weapons in public, damaging property, impersonation (ex. wearing police uniform). See a comprehensive list of arrestable offenses below.
If the player gets arrested by the police (or "Busted"), the player will respawn at the nearest Police Station, but lose some money and all of his weapons, except in GTA San andreas if CJ is dating Barbara as she is a cop. Higher levels of law enforcement are not concerned with arrest, but with killing the player. Death is only temporary, and results in being returned to a nearby hospital with the loss of weapons and some money (No weapons are lost in GTA IV). In GTA: Vice City Stories the player can pay a $2000 bribe to get their weapons back from either the hospital or police station.
Wanted levels can be reduced by the use of a Pay 'n' Spray. In GTA III, there may be rare occasions when police cars try to block the player's entrance to the Pay 'n' Spray, especially with higher Wanted levels. The Wanted Level in GTA IV system allows the player to evade a wanted level by escaping from a certain radius, based on the last place they were spotted. The higher the wanted level, the larger the area.
In the GTA III and GTA IV eras at 4-star wanted levels, heavily armed, highly trained police officers will come after the protagonist and try killing or sometimes arresting him. They all drive Enforcer trucks and are armed with weapons that will make short work of the player. Their Enforcers are fast and can smash up a vehicle in a small amount of time. Their trucks also form roadblocks. In GTA III, they have Micro UZis, Uzis in Vice City, Liberty City Stories, and Vice City Stories, and Mac-11's in San Andreas. SWAT teams are a real threat to the player and come in 4 men per team. Also, in Vice City and Vice City Stories, undercover "Vice Squad" officers armed with Uzis in Cheetahs will chase the player at 3 stars and above. Their cars are fast, and they come two per unit.
The Police AI is more advanced in Vice City Stories, rendering them more tenacious in pursuing the player, even at a one-star wanted level. It is nearly impossible to carjack a police vehicle with cops inside without being instantly busted, and cops will also more aggressively climb on board vehicles and otherwise pursue Victor, making getting busted more likely.
In GTA IV, whenever NPCs are arrested and escorted to the Police Vehicle, the Police Officer will usually drive the NPC criminal around the road without even making effort to transport them to the Police Station and usually after a few spins around the road, the criminal will eventually get off without even being treated as resisting arrest.
List of Police Departments
- Liberty City Police Department
- San Andreas Police Department
- Vice City Police Department
- London Police Department
- Los Santos Police Department (LSPD)
- San Fierro Police Department (SFPD)
- Las Venturas Police Department (LVPD)
- Rural Police (SAPD)
- San Andreas Coast Guard (SAPD)
In GTA IV, the Police in MultiPlayer Mode will not arrest the player, but will shoot at the player in an attempt to kill them, though they can still pull the player out of a car. At 4 stars the police send in an Annihilator with two NOOSE agents with assault rifles firing from the sides of the chopper. The police will arrive in cars containing two police officers. One will carry a Pistol while the other will (usually) carry a Pump Action Shotgun, regardless of what guns are allowed in the online game. NOOSE agents arrive in NOOSE Enforcers only, as the NOOSE Cruiser, the NOOSE Patriot, and the FIB Buffalo only appear in Race and GTA Race multiplayer modes, albeit they are only used by the players. NOOSE agents are equipped mainly with Carbine Rifles and SMGs, but sometimes they have a Pump Shotgun and NOOSE agents will sometimes fall back to their pistol if they lose their weapon. The FIB does not appear in multiplayer at all, and the Police Maverick also only appears in the Race and GTA Race modes. It is notable that Wanted Levels are usually cumulative if multiple players are riding in the same vehicle. When faced with multiple players with wanted levels, the police usually target the nearest player. The player can still use a Pay N Spray in multiplayer, though the same rules using them when police are nearby in single player apply to multiplayer as well. If the player is shot in a Deathmatch, it will count as a death on purpose and will lose $100.
- In GTA San Andreas female police voices will often be heard during wanted level scenarios, ordering Carl to surrender, etc., yet only male police officers ever actually appear on screen.
- In San Andreas, killing police officers guarding the impound garages won't get CJ a wanted level, probably because if he spares the officer, a 3 star wanted level would be given for going into the garages.
- Even though you target a cop with your Fist or Brass Knuckles, you will still get a Wanted Level. (It is because the Fist and Brass Knuckles are counted as a weapon)
- Rarely, in GTA San Andreas, cops may not notice you pointing a weapon or commiting a crime when their back is turned.
- A Wasted cop that has been revived by a Paramedic can no longer arrest you by hand. But if you are bumped by a car during a chase, he may still arrest you in the process.
- A possible glitch occurs in GTA San Andreas in which Carl gets a wanted level if a police officer sees him getting on one of the bicycles or motorcycles associated with the courier side-missions, even though Carl presumably has been given permission to take those vehicles to make deliveries with.
- In Vice City Stories, police officers are far more aggressive in pursuing you, even on a one-star wanted level. In particular, once a policeman opens the door to the player's vehicle and climbs on, it is nearly impossible to shake him off and being busted is inevitable.
- In GTA IV, Police officers are much stronger. Even on a one star wanted level, Police Officers will try to arrest the player. If the player runs, the police will shoot with pistols, shotguns, and sometimes even AR-15's.
- In GTA IV, the Police may sometimes carjack other people's cars (e.g taxis and trucks) to chase you. But there is a glitch in where the car the cop is in seems to magically have a bull horn in which the Police Officer will shout at you to stop.
- In GTA IV, shooting at one of the Police Officers at a bridge road block instantly earns you 6 stars.
- In GTA IV, if you blow up an Enforcer with an RPG or with a grenade while it is chasing you, the occupants might still survive, get out and start shooting at you.
- In GTA IV, the Police can arrest or attack people attacking you.
- In GTA IV, if you shot a driver of a pursuing Police Car, he will fall foward onto the horn. The horn will sound regardless to whether the car is wreaked or not. Same with other cars.
- In GTA IV, the Police will shoot at you even if you are dead or arrested.
- In GTA IV, the Police seem to walk through fire and die where as people will run away from fire.
- In GTA IV, sometimes Police "steals" a car from a civilian. If the Police Officer steals a cab, and you lose them off your tail and find that cab with the Police Driver driving it and whistle it at you and get in, the cop will be a normal Taxi Driver and takes you where you want to go, he is just in Police Uniform. Although if you get a Wanted Level, he will try to arrest/kill you.
- In GTA IV, sometimes when a police officer survives a fire he says; 'This shit never happens to firefighters'
- Police Category - main category for the Police
- Wanted Level
- Police Officers - Notable Police Officers from the GTA series
- Police Officers - The different appearances of Police Officers throughout the series
- Police Car - the Police Vehicle
- Police Departments - list of Police Departments
- Emergency Services - list of Emergency Services (Police, Ambulance, Fire, etc...)
- Emergency Vehicles - list of Emergency Vehicles