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EuropeanConventionHandbookForPolice

Maintaining a

Maintaining a professional police service Page 111 The Code stresses the fundamental objectives of the police service in a democracy: to maintain public tranquillity and law and order in society; to protect and respect the individual’s fundamental rights and freedoms; to prevent and combat crime; to detect crime; and to provide assistance and service functions to the public. To this end, policing operations must meet the basic expectations of the rule of law: that is, that they are conducted in accordance with the national law and international standards (with domestic law and regulations accessible to the public and sufficiently clear and precise in their nature). The organisational structure of the police should help reinforce the idea of earning and maintaining public respect ‘as professional upholders of the law and providers of services to the public’. 322 Organisational arrangements should also promote good public relations and effective co-operation with other appropriate agencies, local communities, NGOs and other representative groups including ethnic minority groups. Sufficient operational independence from other State bodies is necessary; further, clear distinctions are necessary between the role of the police and the prosecution, the judiciary and the correctional system, and the police must not have any controlling functions over these other bodies and must also strictly respect the independence and the impartiality of the judicial system. On the other hand, functional and appropriate co-operation between the police and the public prosecution service is expected (and where domestic law places the police under the authority of the public prosecution or an investigating judge, the police are to be given clear instructions as to the priorities governing crime investigation policy and the progress of criminal investigation in individual cases). The role of defence lawyers in the criminal justice process must be respected and police officers must assist in ensuring the right of access to legal assistance is effective, particularly when an individual is deprived of his liberty. Ensuring professionalism (including combating corruption) is stressed. Thus recruitment should be based on objective and non-discriminatory grounds and upon appropriate personal qualifications and experience so as to allow police personnel ‘to demonstrate sound judgment, an open attitude, maturity, fairness, communication skills and, where appropriate, leadership and management skills’, and a good understanding of social, cultural and community issues is expected. 323 Training (both initial and regular in-service) should be based on the fundamental values of democracy, the rule of law and the protection of 322 Code of Police Ethics, paragraph 12. 323 Ibid. paragraph 23.

The European Convention on Human Rights and Policing Page 112 human rights (and in particular, should include practical training on the use of force and limits with regard to established human rights principles, and take full account of the need to challenge and combat racism and xenophobia). The Code also includes a statement of guidelines for police action or intervention in both general and specific situations based upon general principles that reflect expectations under the European Convention on Human Rights. For example, ‘police personnel shall act with integrity and respect towards the public and with particular consideration for the situation of individuals belonging to especially vulnerable groups’, 324 while any deprivation of liberty ‘shall be as limited as possible and conducted with regard to the dignity, vulnerability and personal needs of each detainee’. 325 Rights of police officers The responsibilities of police officers have been stressed in the discussion to date. This is entirely understandable, but it is also necessary to acknowledge that police officers also have rights. The Council of Europe Code of Police Ethics also contains a number of provisions concerning the rights of police personnel, including: ffA clear statement that police officers ‘enjoy the same civil and political rights as other citizens. Restrictions to these rights may only be made when they are necessary for the exercise of the functions of the police in a democratic society, in accordance with the law, and in conformity with the European Convention on Human Rights.’ 326 ffA statement that police officers should enjoy social and economic rights to the fullest extent possible, including the formation of representative organisations, and to receive adequate remuneration and social protection. ffA right to the review of any disciplinary measures by an independent tribunal. ffA right to protection from ill-founded allegations. These provisions should be incorporated into domestic legal systems in order to ensure adequate protection for police officers. Some brief discussion of the relationship between the Code and the case law of the Strasbourg Court follows. 324 Ibid. paragraph 44. 325 Ibid. paragraph 54. 326 Recommendation (Rec. (2001)10) of the Committee of Ministers adopted on 19 September 2001 at paragraph 31.