Well, I just came back from a training session with a friend, and we had an encounter with the police. I'm training with a beginner friend and we had been doing some wallruns and climbing on top of stuff (public places, not private property, mind you), and two policemen in motorbikes come to us. Awesome...
I hop look at them come close and hop back down to the ground carefully and slowly, to let them know I don't feel I'm doing anything I should hide and I'm in control of my movements, not just doing dangerous things (police are entitled to prevent me to do something that might hurt myself or others).
So, I walk towards them with a mild smile and greet them.- Good afternoon, sir.
The policemen weren't in the best of moods, they skipped the greetings and questioned us bluntly.- What were you doing up there?
My mind races with the possibility of explaining about parkour. I quickly dismiss the idea, they are just not in the mood to appretiate it. I still keep my smile, smiling makes people more relaxed.- We are climbing and doing some exercise, sir. Are we bothering anyone?
Now I see he is not changing his face a single bit, so he's not happy with the reply. I go on before he gets the chance to raise his anger. Still smiling, still in a polite but firm voice.- See, this wall is made of stone, so it's very solid and we are not going to damage it. It is very dirty too, we wouldn't climb onto any painted surface, that' would be very wrong. It is a safe place and we stop practicing when people come close so they don't have to worry about us falling or anything.
This finally sinks into the policemen. My mate and I are over 30, and we're wearing sports clothes. Not being confrontational, respecting them and letting them know we know what we are doing defuses the situation.- Oh, I see. Well, you see, people see you up there and they call us...
At this point he's 50% annoyed, 50% understanding.- Oh, that's okay, sir, I'm sorry we have worried anyone, we're just doing some exercise. We can leave if you want.
Now he's starting to feel guilty...- It's not that, just people are calling us, you understand.- No worries, sir, we understand you, we will leave the place now.
*And keep smiling*- Okay. Goodbye!- Have a nice afternoon!
So we left, moved a few blocks down the street and chose a more private place to finish our training. We switched from climbing and wallrunning to vaults and strength exercises, and it was a good session.
Now, we weren't doing anything illegal, we weren't damaging anything and we weren't bothering anyone. But what good can come from antagonizing the police? Not much. It's better to let them be calm, let them know we're cool people who can be talked to and tacitly explain that we're leaving because we're SO nice, not because we feel we're doing anything wrong.
Seriously, chaps, if anyone (policeman or just random passer-by) comes and starts giving you crap, smile back, be polite even if they aren't, don't lose your cool and if they can't be reasoned with, just leave without much fuss. You can train anywhere, looking for new places is fun and if you have been nice, you can train there another day and they probably won't bother you half as much.