First introduced in Grand Theft Auto 1, the pickup is intended as an cost-free alternative to respraying the player's vehicle at a spray shop, although its scarcity makes the tactic more difficult unless the player memorizes their locations. Police bribe locations vary widely, with some showing up in obvious locations, while others are well hidden from plain view. Some require performing a jump in an automobile to reach, as they are positioned at a slight altitude, and inaccessible on-foot. The pickup is absent in Grand Theft Auto IV, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars and Grand Theft Auto V, as revamped wanted level systems in these games render the bribe redundant.
In its first appearance in GTA 1, the bribe assumed the appearance of a spinning gold coin that will eliminate the whole of the player's present wanted level. In GTA 2, it appears as a rotating dollar-shaped pickup, with the same function as the GTA 1 pickup.
In 3D Universe games, the bribe appears as a rotating, star-shaped police badge pickup and will reduce the player's wanted level by one star when picked up; once the player obtains the bribe, his/her wanted level will be immediately reduced by one star. However, any higher-level police presence (SWAT or FBI for example) in the area prior to obtaining the bribe will continue to pursue the player (assuming a wanted level is still in place), but more of such vehicles will no longer appear. The one exception is the Police Maverick, which will disengage from pursuit of a player with a 3-star wanted level upon obtaining a police bribe (reducing their wanted level to 2 stars). In the GTA III era, some bribe stars are placed in positions that require the player to execute a jump with a vehicle in order to obtain it.
GTA Vice City
- Little Haiti (x3)
- Little Havana (x2)
- Prawn Island
- Vice Point (x3)
- Washington Beach (x2)
- Ocean Beach
GTA San Andreas
- Las Colinas (x2) - In a narrow alley above the railway entrance tunnel near Jefferson Motel and over a street in the northeast part. The player must jump at high speed to reach this one.
- East Los Santos - Near the Storm Drain and a Manchap Bldg. shop, east of the car wash.
- Ganton - In the alley behind Binco.
- Ocean Docks (x2) - Over a bridge's arch reached by walking and in an edge near this bridge.
- Glen Park - In the small arched passageway north of the body of water.
- Verona Beach - In an alley near a terrace, north of the Conference Center.
- Mulholland - Next to the garage of a house, northwest of Madd Dogg's Crib.
- Rodeo - At the entrance of a big white building.
- Vinewood - In an alley located west of the Vinewood Cemetery and north of the Country Club.
- Market - At a house just north of the All Saints General Hospital.
- Montgomery Intersection - In a dirty road
- Fern Ridge - Over a small hill south of Catalina's Hideout
- Catalina's Hideout (invisible)
- Blueberry - In an alleyway
- Blueberry Acres - In a gravel road west of the city
- The Panopticon - In a dirty shortcut
- Shady Creeks - In the dirty road crossing a river
- Angel Pine - In the alleyway behind Angel Pine Sheriff Department
- Foster Valley (x2) - Under San Fierro Bypass and in the street under an access ramp to the highway
- Missionary Hill - The edge of a cliff beside the street
- Avispa Country Club - Between the gap of two pillars under the Club field.
- Doherty (x2) - In an alley next to a parked Bullet. There is also one inside a small building west of San Fierro Fire Station, but due an error, it was placed inside the walls, only can be seen from the Blue Hell but it isn't reachable.
- Hashbury - Top of some stairs beside Hashbury Safehouse.
- Ocean Flats - In an alley between some green trash bins.
- Easter Basin - Over the tracks before entering Kincaid Bridge
- King's - Under some scaffolds of the new Zip store north of Doherty Garage
- Santa Flora - In a gray path behind some house in fronf of Paradiso Safehouse
- Calton Heights - In the crossing of some alleys between four buildings west of Michelle's house.
- In the underground tunnel (near The Big Ear and Fort Carson)
- Las Payasadas
- East of Fort Carson, near Cluckin' Bell, Octane Springs and Hunter Quarry
- Near the road leading to Verdant Meadows and the Snake Farm, east of Area 69
- Far northeast of Verdant Meadows
- Julius Thruway East (x2) - Underneath a bridge and at the corner of a building beside the tracks northwest of V-Rock Hotel.
- The Emerald Isle - Over the street. The player must gain speed in a alley with poles and jump.
- Redsands East - Beside some boxes in an alley behind Below the Belt Gym
- Redsands West - Between to houses in a narrow path closed with wooden fences.
- Las Venturas Airport - Beside the Shody Used Autos main building, before a ramp, east of Las Venturas Hospital.
- Pirates In Men's Pants - Over the lake. The player must jump from a ramp placed over the ship.
- Royal Casino - Above a low yellow building. The player must jump the stairs of the alleys that surround The Camel's Toe pyramid.
- The Camel's Toe - Under the monument
- LVA Freight Depot - At a fenced area in front of Big Bananas warehouse.
- The Four Dragons Casino - In a small yard across the street in front of the casino's garage entrance.
- Julius Thruway South - Middle of the street at the south end of The Strip.