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EuropeanConventionHandbookForPolice

Policing democratic

Policing democratic freedoms Page 109 e.g. where there is a high degree of distrust of the police, negotiation may be best conducted through intermediaries, for example trusted members of the community. The police should seek to facilitate the group as much as possible, within the constraints of the law and respecting the rights of others. Dialogue should be commenced at the earliest possible stage, so that relationships can be developed over time. Other relevant stakeholders should be involved, for example representatives of the local public administration authorities. Abuse of rights: Article 17, European Convention on Human Rights Article 17 of the Convention reads as follows: Nothing in this Convention may be interpreted as implying for any state, group or person any right to engage in any activity or perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for in the Convention. The essential function of Article 17 is ‘to protect the rights enshrined in the Convention by safeguarding the free functioning of democratic institutions’. 318 It has been used primarily in cases involving extremist groups or persons, who have sought to undermine the functioning democratic institutions in a country or the rights of others. 319 318 KPD v Germany, decision on admissibility of 20 July 1957. 319 E.g. Refah Partisi (The Welfare Party) and Others v Turkey, judgment of 13 February 2003 at paragraph 96.

The European Convention on Human Rights and Policing Page 110 Chapter 6 Maintaining a professional police service The Council of Europe Code of Police Ethics Policing is an honourable profession, but one which imposes significant physical and mental demands on police officers. Officers are subject to onerous responsibilities, which they must often discharge in very difficult and dangerous conditions. The European Convention on Human Rights is of direct relevance to police officers in discharging their obligations and duties; however, police offices are at the same time primarily human rights defenders. The proper discharge of their functions will not only protect individual rights but will also create the conditions for social and economic development. The Council of Europe Code of Police Ethics was adopted in 2001. It is a Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, 320 and provides (in the appendix to the Recommendation) a number of nonbinding principles designed to be of influence at a domestic level. Many of the principles found in the case law of the European Convention on Human Rights are also reflected in the Code of Police Ethics. For example, an identifiable leitmotif running throughout the discussion of the Strasbourg Court’s case law to date has been the importance of proportionality in the application of powers authorised by law to be exercised by the police; another is the positive obligation to protect individuals from the wrongful actions of third parties; while a third reflects the importance of upholding democratic freedoms, such as protest. All of these also find expression in the Code. 321 320 Rec(2001)10 on the European Code of Police Ethics. 321 See Appendix B, below.