Police reforms possible across the Council of Europe – report out

Copenhagen, Denmark: The Danish Government, as a key part of their Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, and as a core State leading the inter-governmental Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI), brought together 23 Council of Europe Member States to discuss ways to address and respond to torture and other abuse during police custody and pre-trial detention.

Copenhagen, Chairmanship of Denmark

Discussions among Member States focused on the many good examples from across the region, showing that there are effective ways to conduct police business that protect against abusive or coercive practices.

The Danish Government has just released the report of the seminar. It documents many of these good examples, from systems that ensure automatic access to a lawyer and the notification of third persons of an arrest or detention, to ways to protect the confidentiality of medical examinations. Examples shared also included mechanisms to investigate complaints independently to avoid conflicts of interest, minimum periods for detention prior to a judicial review, and the practice of separating the function of the arresting officer from the custody officer.  The seminar also discussed rapport-building techniques for interviews. Backed up by scientific data, these methods not only improve the collection of oral evidence (accompanied by digital recording), they have also been found to reduce false allegations of abuse against the police and increase cooperation of suspects. The meeting recommended CTI’s two implementation tools sharing good State practices on safeguards in the first hours of police custody, and on investigative interviewing.

The event was held on 22-23 March 2018, in Copenhagen, Denmark. The event was organised with the support of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), the Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI) and the Danish Institute against Torture (DIGNITY).

The report is available here.

Combating Torture During Police Custody – Background Paper.

CTI’s series of practical tools can be found here: Tools and Guides

Need Advice?

The CTI’s expert team provides one-on-one technical advice to governments and national institutions responding confidentially to technical queries on a wide range of issues.