A police officer stops you in the street and asks for your ID.

Un agent de police vous arrête dans la rue et vous demande vos papiers.

ask why, then probably show them

Comply with exactly what he demands. Once I have been freed (hopefully) of any suspicions, ask politely as to why he needed to see it. Do not press the situation if he refuses to answer.

do not give it to him unless he has a valid reason behind asking for it.

First make sure that they are a real police officer, then give them my ID and/or ask why. Or I might just be too scared to do anything.

I feel a bit disturbed, but since I haven't done anything, I just show him the ID.

i give it to her but politely ask why i am being asked to produce my id

I show them my ID then ask what the problem is. Did something happen nearby? Are they looking for someone in particular?

I would ask him if everything is okay and why he needs to see my ID and if he has a good reason, I'd so him my ID.

I would ask why, and if there was a good reason, I would let him see it.

I would be confused and ask him why before the thought of actually giving him the ID even crosses my mind.

I would comply and ask if everything is okay.

I would give it to him.

I would politely and clearly say no, you have no right to ask me for my ID without reason.

I would refuse unless he gave a viable reason.

I would show it to them.

Provide it, and inquire the purpose depending on the situation that I'm currently in

say, "I'm sorry, Officer, is there a problem?"

Je les lui donne. Il est normal que des contrôles soient faits

je les lui montre

Je les lui montre.

Je lui donne mes papiers

je lui donne mes papiers

Je lui montre mes papier (si je les ai) sans a-priori.

Je lui montre mes papiers en restant calme

Je lui montre mes papiers et je lui demande pour quelle raison il veut les voir

Je lui montre mes papiers.

Je lui présente mes papiers et attends qu'il finisse.

Je lui présente sans chercher à comprendre.

je lui tend mes papiers et attend patiemment qu'il me les rende

Je m'exécute et si ce contrôle me paraît bizarre j'en demande la raison.

Je m'exécute poliment et lui demande la raison de mon interpellation.

je montre mes papiers et demande ce qu'il peut y avoir comme problème

Je prends mon porte-feuille, ma carte d'identité et la lui tends. Je n'ai rien à me reprocher, c'est juste un contrôle, il fait son travail.

je reste calme et lui fournis mes papiers. S'il me pose des questions, je lui réponds.


Les réponses montrent clairement que les américains semblent plus suspicieux et méfiants envers la police. En France et dans cette situation, je pense que refuser de montrer ses papiers ne ferait que causer des ennuis et vous finiriez probablement au poste de police.

Beaucoup de gens en France pensent du mal de la police, mais sur le terrain ils sont respectés (du moins dans la vie de tous les jours, pendant une manifestation ce n'est plus la même chose).

Pour rebondir sur ce que dit Emilien,dans quelle mesure peut-on refuser de montrer ses papiers aux État-Unis, comme certains d'entre vous l'ont signifié ?

C'est vrai que les réponses sont totalement différentes. Il semble que vous avez le droit de refuser de montrer vos papiers si il n'y a pas de raison au contrôle.

En France il ne nous viendrait pas à l'idée de refuser, comme le dit émilien, on aurait sûrement plus de problèmes.

Dans le cadre d'un contrôle effectué par un officier, nous sommes obligé de montrer nos papiers (que l'on est sensé toujours avoir sur soi).

Comment cela fonctionne au Etats-Unis, cela depend des états?



In the United States, we always think it is our responsibility to look out for ourselves. We are governed by laws and regulations, but personal independence and freedom is something we refuse to let go. I think this is why we are so suspicious of laws. We don't think of laws as something we must accept, but as something that we as a society agree should be enforced with reason. We would blame ourselves for taking away our personal choice if we handed over our ID for no reason. If there were a reason given, i don't believe people would refuse. How are laws viewed in France?

I think Meghan 'hit the nail on the head'. American feel the right for liberty and privacy, and maintain these rights even in the company of authority. Sometimes a police officer asking to see your papers for no apparent reason can be seen as an act of discrimination, which is an active concern in Arizona with respect to Mexican immigrants. For this reason, I think Americans have become more defensive.

An officer cannot search you in Massachisetts without a warrant, and so cannot take or get your ID without your consent. They can probably however arrest you for such refusal, then you only have your Miranda rights, which can happen in extreme cases especially if both the officer and the citizen are temperamental.

What are the privacy laws in France?

There is also the worry of people pretending to be police officers to get your personal information. Identity theft has always been a big crime in the United States, so you have to be careful of who you show your identification to. Is Identity theft big in France?

It also sounds like the French accept ID checks as a normal part of the officer's routine. Here, I think the understanding is that an officer only asks for an ID if there is a problem.

But it's also a convention that causes Americans to forget that there are times when the ID is supposed to be produced upon request - for example, in grocery stores or liquor stores you sometimes see signs which remind people to "take it as a compliment!" if the clerk asks for your ID (when buying alcohol). So there were clearly incidents in which people who felt their age was self-evident were upset by being asked to show ID.

How intimidating are the police in France? I am personally quite intimidated by them and if they asked me to see my papers, I would be very nervous. What are your notions of police and their authorities?

En France aussi, un contrôle de police est toujours un peu impressionnant et stressant, mais il ne nous viendrait pas à l'idée que les policiers ne sont pas de vrais agents. Je n'ai encore jamais entendu parler de vol d'identité d'un agent de police en France.

De plus, je pense qu'on n'a pas le droit de refuser de montrer ses papiers à un agent de police, qelle que soit la situation et sans qu'il ait besoin de se justifier.

I agree with Jennifer's observation that the French seem to view this situation as a normal occurrence, and that the thought of protecting their privacy doesn't seem to be prominent. It's possible that Americans are just more sensitive to potential invasions of privacy, especially by the government or other figures of authority, whereas the French, according to Guillaume's comment, don't even consider that they have a right to this protection.

What is the French attitude overall towards governmental supervision on a daily basis, even in private matters? In the US, there's a lot of controvery over the Patriot Act, which gives the government more freedom to access information about people's private, daily lives. Would this be seen as intrusive by French citizens, or is there already such a degree of supervision?

I'd like to give another view point for why some people would consider it offensive to be asked for their papers. As an American citizen, there were a few cases in the last years of people who were asked for their papers and because they didn't have them they were arrested violently for no reason. The "reason" was because they looked like an illegal immigrant. There's a reason why so many people were outraged that the Arizona governor wanted to allow officers to screen everyone who even "looked" like an illegal immigrant, in order to get rid of them. 

Many people may take it as a racist act from the police officer and because such cases have occured, I believe that they are justified in thinking so. 

Have there been similar cases in France? 

Are police officers in France viewed as an extension of government authority? It may seem strange, but I think we often separate the government into two pieces. The authority figure over the laws that govern our daily lives is one part and the goverment that deals with politics and interacts with issues on a global scale is the other.

What do you feel your government does and controls? 

Two issues:

Pertaining to identity theft, whether you consider this a relief or worrisome, there are far easier ways to steal one's information than by dressing up as a cop and stopping random people on the street. First off, the thief can be arrested for the mere act of doing this. Second, stopping people means the data you steal is random, whereas tageted computer searches can yield much more useful information. Third, people, without a second thought, put far more on facebook (in supplement to what is publically avaible. Thanks Google) than one could learn from an I.D. So the worry about a police officer impersonator really should be the last thing on one's list.

Pertaining to the invasion of privacy, specifically that of the Arizona issue. (Keep in mind, I am Hispanic. I would be stopped and asked for I.D. were I to travel there)  They are doing their jobs. Immigrants (like my father for instance) are required, by law, to always have their visa/green card on their person. There have been a few times that my dad has called my mom because he forgot his wallet, and thus his I.D. and green card, asking her to drive it to him at work. There are three cases in this circumstance: Legal immigrant with papers is only midly inconvenienced. It takes less than a minute to take out a green card, pass inspection, and go on your merry way. Legal immigrant without papers is taken in, the issue sorted out eventually, maybe a fine imposed (The result of an already existing law). Illegal immigrant shouldn't be there in the first place and would be deported, as is right. There is no hiding the fact that Hispanics constitute a large majority of illegal immigration in the SouthWestern states, so t'would seem 'racial stereotyping' is pretty valid in this case.

As far as Carlos's reply goes, I realize that there are other ways of getting people's identities, but for me, I've seen enough movies to still be worried about people dressing up as police officers.

I also personally know someone who has been pulled over by a fake police officer, luckily she could tell he was not the real deal, but to say it should be the last thing on peoples minds, I believe, is not true. I do agree that Facebook provides too much information about people, but we're living in a world where privacy is becoming an issue we have to deal with. As technology becomes more advanced we need to consider if losing some of our privacy is important and some steps to protect ourselves from things like identity theft. 

In France, how much does technology affect your lives? I'm wondering if Facebook is as popular a thing as it is here in the US.


la discrimination par le contrôle d'identité est une polémique qui existe aussi en France. Il est vrai que cela doit être très frustrant de se faire régulièrement contrôler de par sa couleur de peau. Mais on en revient aux fauts énoncés par Carlos. Je pense que le problème doit se retrouver dans tout pays.


Pour en revenir au vol d'identité, il me semble comprendre que c'est un problème qui n'est pas du tout marginal au États-Unis. Il y a très peu d'affaires de ce type en France. D'après Meghan et Carlos, Facebook semble être un vecteur important pour le développement de cette activité. (En france, facebook a aussi beaucoup de succès, et est décrié pour tout les problèmes en matière de vie privée qu'il comporte, mais n'a jamais été associée à ma connaissance au vol d'identité)

Donc, pouvez-vous nous en dire plus sur ce phénomène (en général, pas seulement avec le faux policiers) ? Est-il nouveau ? Est-il vraiment si répandu ?

Facebook a beaucoup de succès en France aussi et a été assez régulièrement impliqué dans des vols. Il est aussi beaucoup utilisé  par les recruteurs pour récupérer plus d'informations sur une personne qui postule pour un poste.

Si Facebook est utilisé de cette manière par les recruteurs, il n'y a aucune raison qu'il ne soit pas utilisé par n'importe quelle personne pour un vol d'identité en effet. Cependant, je n'ai pas le souvenir d'affaire impliquant un faux policier. Donc, soit il n'y en a que très peu, soit elles ne sont pas ou peu médiatisées.

Au niveau du vol d'identité, il y a eu a peu près 213 000 cas de vol en france en 2009 (On peut considérer qu'il y en a eu à peu près autant chaque année jusqu'à 2011). Peut-être plus, peut-être moins. Mais personnellement, je ne m'en fais pas trop

Pour continuer sur ce qu'a dit Romain Aigron, on peut considérer que Facebook est un vecteur important dans les affaires concernant les délits concernant la vie privée et les recrutements. Faire du social engineering n'a jamais été aussi simple que depuis le boom de tout ces réseaux sociaux.


Les cas de faux policiers existent en France, mais ce sont effectivement des cas marginaux, on en parle d'ailleurs très peu dans les journaux et les autres média.

La discrimination dans les contrôles est très présente en France, la couleur de peau joue un grand rôle ainsi que le type de visage. Pas uniquement dans le cadre de contrôle policiers mais aussi rien que sur le renouvellement de cartes d'identité par exemple.