International Human Rights Standards For Law Enforcement

Ø      International human rights law is binding on all States and their agents, including law enforcement officials.

Ø      Human rights are a legitimate subject for International Law, and International scrutiny.

Ø       Law enforcement officials must know, and to apply International standards for human rights.

Ethical and Legal Conduct

         Law enforcement officials shall at all times respect and obey the law.

         At all time fulfill the duty imposed on them by law, by serving the community and by protecting all persons against illegal acts, consisting the high degree of responsibility required by their profession.

         Shall not commit any act of corruption. Shall rigorously oppose and combat all such acts.

         Shall respect and protect human dignity and maintain and uphold the human rights of all persons.

         Shall report violations of laws, codes and sets of principles which promote and protect human rights.

         All police action shall respect the principles of legality, necessity, non-discrimination, and humanity.

Policing Objectives

                     In the exercise of his rights and freedom, every one shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law.

                     Limitations on the exercise of rights and freedoms shall be only those necessary to secure cognition and respect for the rights of others, and to meet the just requirements morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.

                     Every one has the right to take part in the government of the country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.

                     The will of the people is the basis of the authority of the government.

                     Every law enforcement agency shall be representative of the responsive and accountable to the community as a whole.

                     Everyone has the rights of freedom of opinion, expression, assembly and association. All police officials are part of, ands have a duty to serve the community

Non- discrimination in law enforcement

                     All human beings are born free and equal in dignity & rights.

                     All persons are equal before the law, and are entitled without discrimination to equal protection of the law.

                     No Police Official shall unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, gender, religion, language, colour, political opinion, national origin, property, birth or other status.

                     The recruitment, hiring, assignment and promotion policies shall be free from any form of unlawful discrimination.

Police Investigation

                     In Investigation interviewing of witnesses, victims and suspects, personal searches, searches of vehicles and premises and the interception of correspondence and communications:

ü                  Everyone has the right to security of the person

ü                  Everyone has the right to a fair trial

ü                  Every one has to be presumed innocent until proved guilty in a fair trial

ü                  No one shall be subjected to unlawful attacks on his honor or reputation.

ü                  No pressure, physical or mental, shall be exerted on suspects, witnesses or victims in attempting to obtain information. 

ü                  Torture and other in human or degrading treatment is absolutely prohibited.

ü                  Victims and witnesses are to be treated with compassion and co0nsideration.

ü                  Confidentiality and care in handling of sensitive information are to be exercised at all times.

ü                  No one shall be compelled to confess or to testify against himself.

ü                  Investigation shall be conducted only lawfully and with due cause.

ü                  Investigation shall be competent, prompt and impartial..

ü                  Crime scenes shall be carefully processed, and evidence carefully collected and preserved.         

Police Investigation……Police Officers Practices

                     Follow standardized procedures for the recording of Information during Investigation.

                     In case of doubt regarding legality of an Investigative activity, seek guidance of superior officer before proceeding.

                     Treat all suspects as innocent persons, politely, respectfully & professionally.

                     Keep a detailed record of all interviews conducted.

                     Join in-service training to refresh your investigation skill.

                     Always advise the victim, witness or suspect of their rights before interviewing.

                     Before proceeding to any investigatory action, ask yourself: is it legal? Will it holdup in the court? Is it necessary?.

                     Never seek or rely upon a confession as the basis for a case. Rather, the purpose of investigation should be the securing of independent evidence.

                     Whenever possible, before conducting searches get a warrant or court order. Warrantless searches must be reasonable and with due cause or when advance obtaining of a warrant would be impossible in the circumstances

                     Must know the community to which you are assigned. Develop proactive strategies for the prevention of crime, including through awareness of risks existing in your community.

Police Investigation……Senior Officers Role

                     Establish administrative mechanism to expedite the Investigation process.

                     Establish standing orders emphasizing legal safeguards for investigations.

                     Arrange training programmes on legal standards, and effective scientific techniques for investigations.

                     Establish strict supervisory procedures for the management of confidential information.

                     Establish coordination with relevant social agencies, victim support mechanisms.

                     Establish policies, which limit reliance on confessions.

                     Develop community policing strategies, enabling police to be closer to the community, and the information vital to the prevention and solving of crimes.

                     Take strict action against those involved in the violations of legal procedures required for the investigation.


*                  Everyone has the rights to liberty and security of the person and to freedom of movement.

*                  No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention.

*                  No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedures as are established by law.

*                  Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of the arrest, of the reasons for his arrest.

*                  Anyone who is arrested shall be promptly informed of  charges against him.

*                  Anyone who is arrested shall be brought before judicial authority  promptly.

*                  Anyone who is arrested shall have the right to appear before a judicial authority for the purpose of having the legality of his arrest or detention  reviewed without delay, and shall be released if detention is found unlawful.

*                  Anyone who, is arrested has the right to trial within a reasonable time or to release.

*                  All arrested persons shall have access to a lawyer or other legal representative, and adequate opportunity to communicate with that representative.

*                  A record of every arrest must be made and shall include: the reason for the arrest: the time of the arrest; the time transferred to a place of custody; the time of appearance before a judicial authority; the identity of officers involved; and details of interrogation.

*                  The arrest record shall be communicated to the detainee or to his lawyer.

*                  The family of the arrested person shall be notified promptly of his arrest and place of detention.

*                  Where necessary,  an interpreter shall be provided during interrogation.


*                  All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect.

*                  Everyone charged with a penal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty in a fair trial.

*                  No detainee shall be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or to any form of violence or threats.

*                  Detainee persons shall be held only officially recognized places of detention, and their families and legal representatives are to receive full information.

*                  Juveniles are to be separated from adults, women from men; and convicted persons from unconvicted persons.

*                  Decisions about the duration and legality of detention are to be made by a judicial or equivalent authority.

*                  The detainee shall have the right to be informed of the reason for detention and any charges against him.

*                  Detainees have the right to contact with the outside world, to visit from family members, and to communicate privately and in person with a legal representative.

*                  Detainees shall be  kept in humane facilities, designed to preserve health, and shall be provided with adequate food, water, shelter, clothing, medical services, exercise and items of personal hygiene.

*                  The religious and moral beliefs of detainee shall be respected.

*                  Every detainee shall have the right to appear before a judicial authority, and to have the legality of his detention reviewed.

*                  The right and special status of women and juvenile detainees are to be respected.

*                  No one shall take advantage of the situation of a detained person to compel him to confess, or to otherwise incriminate himself or another person.

*                  Measures for discipline and order shall be only those set out in law and regulations, shall not exceed those necessary for safe custody, and shall not be inhumane.

Arrest/Detention……Police Officers Role

                     Review on regular basis the powers and procedures of arrest.

                     Join training programmes to enhance inter-personal skill, specially skill of communication for the effective arrest of wanted persons with due respect

                     Where resistance is not apprehended, attempt calm, polite, disarming language when effecting an arrest, resorting to strong authoritative tones only when necessary

                     Develop and maintain skills in the use of handcuffs and other means of restraint.

                     Develop self confidence and self defence skills.

                     Get an arrest order/warrant, whenever possible

                     Carry small card along with you containing the rights of arrestee, which be readover to the arrestee once he is secured.

                     Keep careful arrest record with detail.

                     Issue and enforce clear standing order on arrest procedures.

                     Arrange continuous training to all officers on procedures for arrest, the rights of the arrestee and techniques for effecting the arrest safely and humanely.

                     Arrange training in inter-personal skill, conflict resolution techniques, self defense and the use of restraint mechanism.

                     Develop standard forms for the recording of arrest information based on procedures and jurisdiction.

                     Brief the subordinate staff on continuous basis.

                     Debrief the involved officers after every arrest and carefully check the arrest record to be complete.

The use of force

*                  Everyone has the right to life, security and freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman treatment, punishment

*                  Non-violent means are to be attempted first .

*                  Force is to be used only strictly necessary

*                  Must be used for lawful law enforcement purposes.

*                  Use of force is to be always proportional to lawful objectives.

*                  Restraint is to be exercised in the use of force.

*                  Damage and injury are to be minimized.

*                  A Range of means for differentiated use of force is to be made available.

*                  All officers to be trained in the use of various means for differentiated use of force.

*                  All officers are to trained in the use of non-violent means.

Accountability for the use of force and firearms

*                  All incidents of the use of force or firearms shall be followed by reporting and review by superior officers.

*                  Superior officials shall be held responsible for the actions of police under their command if the superior officer knew or should have known of the abuses but failed to take concrete action.

*                  Officials, who refuse unlawful superior order shall be given immunity.

Officials who commit abuses of these rules shall not be excused on the grounds that they were following superior orders

Permissible circumstances for the use of firearms

*                  Firearms are to be used only in extreme circumstances.

*                  Firearms are to be used only in self-defense or defense of others against imminent threat of death or serious injury.

*                  To prevent a particularly serious crime that involves a grave threat to life.

*                  To arrest or prevent the escape of a person posing such a threat and who is resisting efforts to stop the threat. Beside in every case only when less extreme measures are insufficient.

*                  Intentional lethal use of force and firearms shall be permitted only when strictly unavoidable in order to protect human life.

  Procedures for the use of firearms

*                  The officer must identify himself as a police official.

*                  Must give a clear warning.

*                  The officer should allow adequate time for the warning to be obeyed.

*                  But this would not be required, if the delay would result in death or serious injury to the officer or others or

*                 If this is clearly pointless or inappropriate in the circumstances to do so.

Practice by the Police Officials

                     Arrange Training Programme for the officials to improve their skills in first aid, self-defense; the use of defensive equipments; the use of non-lethal instruments; the use of firearms; crowd behavior; conflict resolution; and in personal stress management.

                     Carefully store and secure all firearms issued to them.

                     Assume that every firearm is loaded firearm.

                     Study, and employ techniques for persuasion, mediation and negotiation.

                     Plan in advance for the gradual, progressive use of force, beginning with non-violent means.

                     Be alert to the physical and mental state of your colleagues, and intervene where necessary to see that they receive appropriate care, counseling or training.

Command and Supervisory Officials

                     Establish, enforce clear standing orders on the use of force / firearms.

                     Acquire and issue  helmets, shield, bullet proof vests, gas masks etc.

                     Acquire and issue non-lethal  and crowd dispersal instruments.

                     Ensure periodic assessments of officers, to continuously gauge their mental and physical health and suitability to judge the necessity and use of force and firearms.

                     Ensure stress counseling for all officers involved in the use of force.

                     Establish clear reporting guidelines for every incidence of the use of force and firearms.

                     Strictly regulate the control, storage , and issuing of firearms, including procedures to ensure that officers are accountable for arms and ammunition issued to them.

                     Prohibit the use of weapons and ammunition, which causes unwarranted injury, damage or risk.

                     Strictly check that no official carry non-authorized weapons and ammunition.

                     Develop strategies, which will reduce the risk that officers will be forced to use firearms.

Civil disorder

                     All measures for the restoration of order are to respect human rights.

                     Restoration of order is to be achieved without discrimination.

                     Any limitations on rights shall be only those determined  by law.

                     Any action taken, and any limitations on rights, shall be solely for the purpose of securing respect for the rights and freedoms of others, and for meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare.

                     Any action taken, and any limitation on rights, shall be only those  consistent with the requirements of society.

*                   Non-violent means shall be attempted before the use of force

*                   Force shall be used only when strictly necessary.

*                   Force shall be used only for lawful law enforcement purposes

*                   Force applied shall be proportional to the lawful law enforcement aims.

*                   Every effort shall be made to limit damage and injury.

*                   A range of means for the differentiated use of force shall be available.

*                   No unnecessary limitations on the rights to free speech, assembly, association or movement shall be imposed.

*                   No limitations shall be imposed on freedom of opinion.

*                   The independent functioning of judiciary shall be maintained.

*                   All wounded persons are to be immediately cared of.

Civil disorder……..Police Officers Strategies

                     Adopt community policing strategies, and monitor levels of social tensions between various groups in society, and between those groups and the authorities.

                     Be alert as to any preparations for unlawful demonstrations

                     Be tolerant of unlawful, but peaceful, non-threatening assemblies, so as not to escalate the situation unnecessarily.

                     Establish contacts with representatives /individuals in the crowd.

                     Where it is necessary to disperse a crowd, always leave a clear and obvious corridor of escape.

                     Deal with a crowd as a group of independently thinking individuals, not as a single-minded mass.

                     Avoid unnecessary provocative tactics.

                     Develop crowd control techniques which minimize the need for the use of force.

                     Issue clear standing orders on respect for peaceful, free assembly.

Protection of Juveniles

*                  Children shall be treated in a manner, which promotes their sense of dignity and worth; which facilitates their reintegration into society reflecting their best interest as per their need.

*                  Children shall not be subjected to torture; to cruel, inhuman treatment or punishment; to corporal punishment; or to life imprisonment without chance of release.

*                  Detention or imprisonment of children shall be an extreme measure of last resort, and detention shall be for the shortest possible time.

*                  Children shall be separated from adult detainees.

*                  Detained children shall receive visits and correspondence from family members.

*                  Children privacy shall be respected and complete and secure record are to be maintained and kept confidential.

*                  Weapons shall not be carried in juvenile institutions

*                  Parents are to notified of any arrest, detention, transfer, sickness, injury or death..    

Protection of Juveniles…….Police Officials Role

*                  Must have specialized training on the effective and humane treatment and care of juvenile offenders.

*                  Participate in educational programme for children, to help in preventing juvenile crime and juvenile victimization.

*                  Get to know in your duty area, and their parents. Be Alert to places and adults presenting criminal risk, and to the presence of children in such places, or in contact with such adults.

*                  If children are sighted away from the school during school hours, investigate and notify parents and school authorities.

*                  Promptly investigate any evidence of neglect or abuse of children in their homes, communities, or police facilities.

*                  Meet regularly with social workers and professionals to discuss children’s issues relating to your work.

*                  For non-serious crimes, return juvenile offenders to parents or social agencies.

*                  Keep all records pertaining to children in separate and secured storage.

*                  Report to Superior Officers on inappropriate performance by the colleague if any.

Protection of Juveniles…Command and Supervision

*                  Encourage the use of variety of dispositions for alternatives to institutional treatment of children, which includes care, guidance and supervision orders, counseling; probation; foster care; educational and vocational training programmes; and other appropriate and proportional measures.

*                  Keep complete and secure records on all detained juveniles, including identity; reason for commitment; day and hour of admission, transfer and release; details of notification to parents; physical or mental health problems; and staff charged with care and treatment.

*                  Establish procedures for direct complaints and communications to be made by juvenile detainees to the director of institution, or judicial authorities and to social agencies.

*                  Assist in the development and implementation of community programmes for the prevention of juvenile crime.

*                  Always detail those, who could properly deal with the juvenile offenders.

*                  Establish expedited procedures for bringing detained juveniles before a court, where judicial action is appropriate.

*                  Establish close liaison and cooperation with juvenile justice, child protection, medical and social agencies.

*                  Develop strategies for regular attention to children in especially vulnerable circumstances, such as extreme poverty, homelessness, abusive households, or high crime areas. Also establish a special juvenile unit under closed supervision.