The police (also known as cops or pigs) are present in all Grand Theft Auto games.
- For the Police cars (in all games), see Police Car
The role of the Police in-game is to make crime difficult for the player - and to provide a reliable enemy and a challenge in many missions. This theme is present throughout the entire series, although the exact details vary between games.
The Police work upon a system of Wanted Stars. If the player is noticed performing a crime (ranging from crashing into a Police car to holding up shops) he may gain a Wanted Star, bringing his Wanted Level to one of six. With a Wanted Level of one, any passing Cop will chase the player and attempt to arrest (or kill) him. With more serious crimes, higher Wanted Levels are issued, and different levels of Law Enforcement will join the pursuit, such as a Police helicopter, the FBI and the Army.
If the player gets arrested by the police, there is no trial; the player loses some money and all of his weapons upon release from the nearest Police Station. Higher levels of law enforcement are not concerned with arrest, but with terminating the player. Death is only temporary, and results in being returned to a nearby hospital with the loss of weapons and some money.
What the Police Won't Arrest You For
The following offenses are ones which would usually result in police intervention in the real world, but do not in the GTA series. Bear in mind that the presence of police can affect detection, and that wanted levels may be decreased through various methods.
- Trespassing on private property (residential or otherwise) - it is considered compulsory in Grand Theft Auto III to collect all the hidden packages.
- Indecent exposure (cops don't care if Carl strips down to his briefs in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas).
- Speeding and other traffic offences such as running red lights, travelling on the wrong side of the road, and mis-parking.
- Evading cops and resisting arrest (in fact a 1-star wanted level disappears over time if not provoked). Note: in Grand Theft Auto IV, pretending to surrender and then running away will increase a 1-star rating to a 2.
- Damaging property (such as blowing up gas pumps) unless killing people in the process.
- Flying a plane or helicopter too low.
- Using illegally-earned money to purchase a business or a house to save your game in.
- Jumping on other people's cars and riding on top of their roofs (police cars included). However, attacking cars is an offense.
- Posing as a taxi driver, ambulance driver, or firefighter and doing missions.
- Posing as a police officer and driving a police vehicle (unless stolen from garage).
- Carrying an unconcealed firearm/meleé weapon in public.
- Stealing a train (this is only possible in GTA 1 and GTA San Andreas)
What the Police Will arrest you for
- Beating a person with or without a melee weapon.(even in self defense)
- Throwing things at people.
- Aiming a weapon at an officer.
- Carjacking with an officer in the vicinity.
- Running a pedestrian over with a vehicle.
- Shooting a firearm near an officer, even if doesn't harm anyone.
- Using a chainsaw near an officer, even if doesn't harm anyone.
- Hitting a police vehicle with another vehicle or by attacking it in any way.
- Attempting to carjack a police car (with or without occupants).
- Starting fires.
- Robbing houses (unless you don't get caught).
- Trespassing into a police station.
- Knocking off stores.
- Vehicle alarm is audible by nearby police.
- Bumping into an Officer when making an arrest.
- Breaking through the tollbooth without paying.
- Spraying gang tags
- entering a police station with a weapon
- entering the police parking lot