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Police Officer European charter

This Charter was developed by the 2nd Congress of the European Council of Police Trade Unions organized in 1992 in Strasbourg (France) in the buildings of the Council of Europe and amended by the Executive Committee of Sofia (Bulgaria) in November 1999.

Organisational And Functional Aspects

The Police must be a public service, to serve the community. Its mission is to guarantee the free and peaceful exercise by all citizens of the rights and freedoms granted to them by the Law.

In this aim, the community must ensure:

  • the absence of any type of illegitimate political interference in the Police’s activities,
  • the demilitarization of all aspects of police services,
  • the respect and protection of citizens’ fundamental rights,
  • the transparency of the actions of the Police and the control of its activities and its leading bodies by the executive and legislative powers,
  • the limitation of the Police’s action to the field of the struggle against all forms of criminality.

The police Institution must depend on the executive power and its activity be controlled by the legislative power, according to each country’s constitutional legal framework.

The police Institution must depend on the executive power and its activity be controlled by the legislative power, according to each country’s constitutional legal framework.

The rules for the running and activity of the police organisation must allow each of its members to exert their individual or collective rights and freedoms. They must not include any other restrictions or limits than those defined by the legal and constitutional systems and aimed at ensuring the following aspects: performance of their function by police officers, in full impartiality and without any discrimination for racial or ideological reasons, without being accessible to corruption and without obeying orders likely to involve the performance of actions breaking the Law.

To guarantee a police service which respects human rights and to fight more effectively against the development and the widening of international criminal network, it is absolutely necessary to harmonize the specialized legislation taking into account the national specificity.

Collaboration between police at an European level must be accompanied by a cooperation of all competent NGO or intergovernmental organisation which work in this field.

Relationships With The Community

When performing their professional activity, police officers shall:

  • dedicate themselves fully to the performance of their task;
  • prevent any abusive, arbitrary or discriminating practices likely to result in acts of physical or moral violence, and oppose any act of corruption;
  • treat citizens correctly and with consideration ; try to assist and protect citizens, as well as be able to make the necessary decisions at the right time to prevent any serious, immediate and irreparable consequence; comply with the principles requiring police officers to use the means put at their disposal at the appropriate time and advisedly;
  • use weapons only in situations endangering their life or physical integrity or those of other persons, while complying with the principle requiring them to use those only at the right time and advisedly;
  • respect the honor and dignity of individuals and take care of the life and physical integrity of those whom they will arrest or who are entrusted to their custody;
  • accomplish the required formalities and respect the time limits provided for by the judicial system when arresting a person;
    keeping information of any nature they may obtain during their activity secret; however, professional secret shall not conceal activities regarded as offences by the Law.
  • Police officers are personally and professionally responsible for all actions breaking the law or regulations that they may commit during the performance of their task. The obedience owed by police officers to their superiors does in no way release them from the responsibility of the actions that they may commit as a response to orders and that obviously represent offences or breaches of the Law.
  • Participate in confirmation of the image and goals of a police which wants to serve citizens and respect Human rights.

Personal And Professional Status

Public Authorities shall grant Police Officers the right to:

  • police officers must have the right to form trade unions in the same conditions as other officers of the Public Administration. They must have the right to freely and democratically elect their representatives. They must have the right to belong to such organisations arbitrating and solving disputes as may be created, as well as the right to be heard in these organisations.
  • receive proper training to perform their professional functions, particularly as regards Human Rights and public freedoms;
  • obtain, owing to this training, the professional, social and human promotion required, according to principles of objectivity and equality.
  • receive a just salary taking the specific factors of police duties into account and providing them with the required economical safety and employment, in order to prevent them from being prone to corruption, and to guarantee their integrity;
  • have working hours, working conditions and regulations enabling them to keep in the good psychological conditions required for the performance of their difficult mission;
  • be submitted to no restriction or limitation, arising from their condition of Police officers, of the rights and freedoms granted to them by the Law as individuals or as citizens;
  • be submitted to no restriction or limitation, arising from their condition of Police officers, of the rights to form unions or associations that are granted to them by the Law as people exerting a paid profession.
  • any Police officer against whom disciplinary or penal proceedings are instituted must have the right to be assisted by a lawyer and to refer to administrative regulations before ordinary Courts.
  • during the performance of their professional duties, even when their guilty neglect or breach of rules has been evidenced, Police officers must have the right to expect legal defense from the State.
  • police officers must be entitled to an appropriate social protection for themselves and their families. The State must guarantee this protection to them, taking the special risk resulting from their activity as policemen and the time devoted to this activity into account.
  • the State shall guarantee the economical and material conditions required to allow the development of trade unions while ensuring their independence from political parties or any other ideological or religious group or any union.
  • no police officer can not be dismissed, even temporarily or as a measure of conservation unless the intervention and the control of Justice courts.
  • police officers shall only be judged or deemed responsible for the professional activities they have performed in compliance with the laws of their country, under any political system or government, in cases where these activities represented a breach of Human Rights and included common law crimes or offences. In no cases shall Police officers collectively be regarded as responsible or sentenced to collective punishments or sanctions.
  • Trade unions must be able to institute any legal action for the benefit of a police officer, a group of officers or the police institution. They must also be consulted and take part in the drawing-up and revision of wages, recruitment, training, promotion and assignment systems, disciplinary rules, etc.
  • no trade union leader or affiliated members can not be dismissed because of his trade union activities and accountabilities within the framework of the trade union organisations or professional associations.
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