Progress & Actions
For this recommendation, the External Legal Experts (see recommendation 1716 above) have advised on (a) the establishment of an Independent Ombudsman, outside the MoI, to oversee and conduct investigations in
(i) the most serious allegations made against the police and
(ii) serious issues affecting the public confidence in policing;
and (b) a new Internal Affairs Department in the MoI with internal responsibility for first order disciplinary review. The relevant decree establishing both the Ombudsman and the Internal Affairs department was issued on 28 February 2012. The Decree, taking inspiration from the UK ombudsman model, was drafted by the External Legal Experts in consultation with John Yates and John Timoney.
On (b), on 30 January, the Minister of Interior approved a new Code of Conduct for Bahraini Police. The Code of Conduct was drafted in consultation with John Timoney, as well as legal and policing experts, and is based on various international policing codes, including the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the European Code of Police Conduct. It adopts the “principles-based” approach, setting out the broad duties of police officers in relation to various aspects of their work, including the use of force, respect for human dignity and maintaining the rule of law. As the introduction states, the Code constitutes a new social contract between the police and the Bahraini community.
The MOI has also finalised a Police Manual (the Manual) setting out the duties of police officers, including procedures to be followed when arresting persons. The pocket sized manual will be issued to all officers; and will be made part of the training programme for police officers.
A new programme for human rights and legal training (on the procedures) has already begun for new police officers. Existing officers will also be trained in this programme, which will now be enriched by the new Code and the Manual. A programme is being developed for sensitivity training by John Timoney and John Yates. Training of officers will always be updated from the lessons learnt by the Ombudsman. The new decree contains a provision that obliges the Ombudsman to “assist the Police to ensure that any relevant lessons learned are incorporated into existing policies or training, as the case may be”.
Technical assistance on this recommendation will be provided the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the UN office with the exclusive mandate for criminal justice. A formal agreement is currently being finalised with the UNODC to provide such assistance.