Monday, April 19, 2010

End Impunity for Police Abuse and Misconduct:Human Rights Watch

End Impunity for Police Abuse and Misconduct
5.Establish police complaints authorities (PCAs) at the state and district level as mandated by the Supreme Court
1. Ensure PCAs have the necessary capacity to effectively manage their caseloads. If a PCA sustains a complaint against an officer and the officer is not internally disciplined, police should publicly provide a detailed justification. Sustained complaints should automatically be forwarded to a local prosecutor for review.
2. Provide complainants with clear instructions, simple forms, and a telephone contact to check on the status of the investigation. Consider creating an anonymous complaints line for victims and other police to report police misconduct and abuses.
3. Establish a unit at the state level to address the legal, social, medical and psychological needs of victims of police abuse and killings during the investigative process.
6.Support external accountability mechanisms
1. Establish that under no circumstances should investigations ordered by external agencies such as state human rights commissions be referred to police from the same police station implicated in the complaint.
2. End the practice of transferring police alleged to have committed abuses; the practice only endangers other residents. Establish that when a police officer is identified in any FIR regarding conduct which occurred in the course of his duties, the officer should be assigned desk duty or suspended with pay, depending on the charge, until the incident is investigated and resolved.
7.Establish robust internal accountability mechanisms
1. Establish an independent internal affairs or “professional responsibility” unit at the state level to promptly and impartially investigate, within a one-year mandatory time limit, all cases of custodial torture and death, and all police shootings that result in death. Internal investigations should be triggered by allegations made to external government agencies such as the NHRC.
2. Monitor compliance with the D.K. Basu guidelines and similar provisions in the Criminal Procedure Code. Authorize an independent internal affairs or “professional responsibility” unit at the state level to conduct random checks on police lock-ups and respond to allegations of ongoing or recurrent violations of the D.K. Basu guidelines by police.
8.Establish responsibility of supervising police
1. Issue directives to police at the rank of superintendent advising that they are responsible for identifying, preventing, and punishing abuses committed by officers under their supervision, and monitoring officers’ compliance with the D.K. Basu guidelines.
2. Discipline or prosecute as appropriate superior officers who knew or should have known of acts of torture and killings, and failed to prevent and punish them.
9.Bolster internal discipline
1. Establish a detailed scheme defining police misconduct and prescribing penalties, such as a disciplinary matrix or table describing the range of penalties officers should expect for various offenses, and remove broad discretion in applying discipline. Regularly issue public reports regarding ongoing disciplinary proceedings or investigations.
2. b)Establish a policy that under no circumstances should any review agency or officer attempt to dissuade or intimidate a complainant, with disciplinary consequences for those who do so.
10. Reduce inappropriate influences on police behavior
1. End the practice of providing money rewards and out-of-turn promotions for “special merit” services. Do not permit police to accept money rewards from private persons or corporate bodies.
2. b)Strictly enforce the Supreme Court’s requirements in Prakash Singh regarding fixed tenure for police officers and the establishment of a board to monitor recruitment, appointment and transfer of police. Make information on all transfers and postings available to the public.