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Police Ethics Commissioner

Police Ethics Commissioner has been created on September 1st, 1990 and is governed by the Police Act (RLRQ chapter P-13.1).

The police ethics Commissioner receives and examines the complaints filed against police officers, wildlife protection officers, special constables, highway controllers and the Unité permanente anticorruption investigators who may have violated the Code of ethics of Québec police officers.

To be specific, the jurisdiction of the Commissioner applies to Québec police officers performing police duties in another province or territory of Canada and, according to certain modifications, to police officers of other provinces or territories authorized to perform police duties in Québec, in accordance with an authorization granted under the Police Act.

Organisational Structure

A Commissioner and a deputy Commissioner are appointed by the Government for a period of five years. The deputy Commissioner shall exercise the powers delegated to him by the Commissioner. The mandate of the Commissioner and deputy Commissioner may be renewed. In the absence or disability of the Commissioner, he is replaced by the deputy Commissioner.

Marc-André Dowd, Commissioner, Lawyer

Hélène Tremblay, Deputy Commissioner, Lawyer

In 2017, the police ethics Commissioner had on its payroll, 31 employees, distributed in three geographically decentralized directions in two offices, one in Québec (18 people), one in Montréal (13 people).


At the end of the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the state expenditure was as follows: salaries and wages had absorbed $ 2 349 600, current expenditures amounted to $ 415 200, capital expenditures, $ 9 800, for a grand total of $ 2 774 600. Moreover, the Commissioner has recorded expenses of conciliation and investigation reimbursed by the police involved in the amount of $ 916 300

For the last fiscal year, the amounts allowed to salaries and expenses reimbursed had been reduced due to the Quebec State jurists’ strike which last for over four months.


The Commissioner has a decisive mission within the police ethics system. In fact, after providing assistance to citizens to file their complaint, after a preliminary examination of the complaints, after conciliation has taken place between the parties, after the complainants’ allegations have been investigated, and the evidence is considerate sufficient to cite a police officer before the police ethics Committee, the Commissioner deals with over 90 % of the volume of complaints referred to the ethics system. Moreover, after a citation is issued, the Commissioner makes representations before the police ethics Committee, and if an appeal is filed, before the Court of Québec.

However, the Commissioner may not submit the case on his own. The Commissioner can only act when there is:

–       a complaint from a person;

–       a request for investigation from the Minister of Public Security;

–       a final decision from a Canadian court declaring a police officer guilty of a criminal offence which also constitutes a breach of the Code of ethics

The decisions of the Commissioner to close a file are rendered in writing, with reasons, at the complainant’s request, and subject to a review procedure that is either internal (the Commissioner himself) or external (the police ethics Committee), according to the stage of the decision.

Moreover, the Commissioner can make recommendations to remedy any detrimental situation observed or prevent its reoccurrence, and formulate observations to improve the conduct of a police officer, wildlife protection officer, special constable, highway controller or Unité permanente anticorruption investigator.

Furthermore, if a criminal offence appears to have been committed, the Commissioner can refer the case to the appropriate police force for a criminal investigation. Finally, when the ethics investigation has been completed, the Commissioner can also forward his file to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions.

Number of complaints received in 2016-2017

The Police Ethics Commissioner Office has received 1781 complaints during the last fiscal exercise.

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Independent Office for Police Conduct

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) was established by the Police Reform Act 2002 and became operational in April 2004. The IOPC is independent, making its decisions entirely independently of the police, government and complainants. One of its primary statutory functions is to secure and maintain public confidence in the police complaints system in England and Wales.

The IOPC also investigates the most serious complaints and allegations of misconduct against the police in England and Wales, as well as handling certain appeals from people who are not satisfied with the way police have dealt with their complaint.

Since 2004, the IOPC’s remit has been extended to include:

– The IOPC people and their deputies
– the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and his deputy

– certain specialist police forces (including the British Transport Police and the Ministry of Defence Police)
– Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
– staff who carry out certain border and immigration functions who now work within the UK Border Force and the Home Office
– the National Crime Agency (NCA)
– staff who carry out certain functions within the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA)

In 2013, the then Home Secretary initiated the expansion of the IOPC. In response the IOPC launched a change programme, doubling its staff and taking on six times as many independent investigations. The IOPC went through considerable structural change. It no longer has a Commission structure, so has been renamed the Independent Office for Police Conduct (it was before named IPCC: Independent Police Complaints Commission). At the head of the organisation is a Director General, supported by Deputies, Regional Directors and a Director for Wales. This transition happened at the end of 2017.

Organisational Structure

The IOPC is currently overseen by a Director General, supported by non-executive directors, a deputy Director General, regional directors and a director for Wales.
The Director General, non-executive directors, regional directors and the director for Wales must not have worked for the police in any capacity prior to their appointment.

Information about the IPCC’s Chair and Commissioners can be found here: .


The IOPC is funded by grant in aid received from the Home Office. In 2016/17 this was £71 million.

Investigations role

Police forces must notify the IOPC of any death or serious injury during or connected to contact with the police as well as serious complaints and allegations of misconduct involving:
– a death or serious injury
– serious corruption (including abuse of powers for sexual gain)
– a serious assault
– serious sexual offence
– certain allegations of discrimination
– certain criminal offences

Modes of investigation

Once a complaint or allegation has been referred to the IOPC, it will make a ‘mode of investigation’ decision to determine whether it is necessary to investigate the matter and if so how it should be dealt with. The IOPC can carry out its own independent investigation, manage or supervise an investigation carried out by the police or decide that the police force should carry out its own investigation.

Principles of investigation

When the IOPC supervises, manages or independently investigates a case it will:
– ensure that initial terms of reference for the investigation are clearly defined
– constantly review investigations to ensure they remain focused
– maximise the value of independent oversight to reach evidence-based conclusions as soon as practicable
– adopt a flexible approach to allow the mode of investigation to change as appropriate (for example, an investigation may start off locally but escalate to a supervised, managed or IOPC investigation)
– be independent and consider the needs and positions of all throughout the process
– where appropriate and in the absence of a public complaint, investigate the circumstances of an incident rather than the conduct of individual officers

IOPC values

The IOPC’s core values are:
 – Justice and respect for human rights
 – Independence
 – Valuing diversity
 – Integrity
 – Openness

IOPC strategic objectives

The IOPC’s strategic objectives are:
 – Improve the confidence of those groups who have least confidence in the police complaints system
 – Deliver an increased number of timely and high-quality independent investigations
 – Ensure that the IOPC operates a timely and high-quality appeals process
 – Improve the quality of police forces’ own complaints handling
 – Improve policing practice as a result of learning from our investigations and appeals work
 – Ensure that the IOPC is fit for purpose, agile, able to manage significant expansion and representative of the communities we serve

Complaint statistics

In 2015/16 police forces recorded a total of 34,247 complaint cases – a decrease of 8% compared to 2014/15.
The IOPC received 3,900 referrals in 2015/16. It started 519 investigations and processed 3,610 appeals.

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Police Investigations & Review Commissionner

The post of the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) is a Ministerial appointment first established in 2007 by the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act 2006 (“the Act”) and amended by the Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act 2012.

Under the Act, the Police Investigations & Review Commissioner:

– Undertakes independent investigations into the most serious incidents involving the police

– Undertakes independent examination of the way the police handle complaints from the public

– Undertakes independent investigations into allegations of misconduct by senior officers.

– Provides independent scrutiny of the arrangements that police bodies operating in Scotland have in place to respond to complaints from the public

Police Investigations & Review Commissioner (PIRC) is representing by :

Kate Frame, Commissioner

John Mitchell, Director of Investigations


– Independently investigates serious incidents involving the Police

– Independently examines the way police handle non-criminal complaints

– Independently investigates allegations of misconduct by senior police officers

– Independent scrutiny of the arrangements that police bodies operating in Scotland have in place to respond to complaints from the public

Number of Complaints in 2016

Referrals for independent investigation : 394
Referrals for independent examination : 903

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Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland

The Police Ombudsman’s Office provides independent, impartial investigation of complaints about the police in Northern Ireland.

We look at evidence to decide whether police officers have acted properly or not. Examples of the types of things we investigate include complaints that:

–          officers failed to conduct proper enquiries

–          officers used excessive force

–          officers were rude or aggressive

–          or acted inappropriately in other ways

The Police Ombudsman also investigates complaints about some, but not all, civilian employees of the police. This includes those performing custody and escort duties.

His decisions are made entirely independently of the police, government and complainants.

You do not have to pay to complain to him.

He deals with complaints about:

–          The Police Service of Northern Ireland

–          National Crime Agency officers in Northern Ireland

–          Belfast Harbour Police

–          The Belfast International Airport Police

–          Ministry of Defence Police in Northern Ireland

–          Immigration officers and some customs officials in Northern Ireland (serious cases only)

The Office was established in November 2000, is based in Belfast city centre, and has a staff of about 150 people, about 120 of whom work within our investigations teams.


History of the Office

When the Office of the Police Ombudsman opened for business on 6 November 2000, it ushered in a new era in police complaints in Northern Ireland. Before then, complaints against the police were investigated by other police officers.

The opening of the Office marked the introduction of a system of independent, impartial, civilian oversight of policing. With its own teams of professional investigators, it was the first fully-funded and completely independent police complaints organisation in the world.

The blueprint for the Office had been set out three years previously in the report “A New Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland?” Dr Maurice Hayes, a senior civil servant, had been appointed in November 1995 to review the police complaints system and produce proposals for a new system which could earn the confidence of the people of Northern Ireland, and of the police themselves. After consulting widely with members of the public, politicians, the police and policing organisations.

Dr Hayes said the key to the success of the new Office would be its independence. “The overwhelming message I got from nearly all sides and from all political parties, was the need for the investigation to be independent and to be seen to be independent,” he said. The Ombudsman, he said, should be supported by a team of professional investigators “which might include investigators from Customs and Excise or DHSS, lawyers, people with police experience and others.”

“He/she would investigate complaints against police even where the action complained of might amount to criminal behaviour, if proven, and would in such cases carry the criminal investigation through to a recommendation to the Director for Public Prosecutions.” Dr Hayes’ recommendations were largely accepted by the Government, which passed legislation to bring the new Office into being. The Police (Northern Ireland) Act 1998 set out the role and powers of the new Police Ombudsman, and after some months of preparation, the Office was declared open.

The first Police Ombudsman was Mrs (now Dame) Nuala O’Loan, who was appointed Police Ombudsman designate in 1999 and oversaw the preparations for the opening of the Office the following year. She remained in post until the seven year term of office defined in legislation ended on 5 November 2007.

She was succeeded by Mr Al Hutchinson, who had previously been Oversight Commissioner with the Office of the Oversight Commissioner, the body established in 2001 to oversee changes to policing in Northern Ireland.  In September 2011, Mr Hutchinson announced his intention to retire the following year.

He was succeeded by Dr Michael Maguire, who took up post in July 2012. Dr Maguire had previously been Chief Inspector with the Criminal Justice Inspectorate in Northern Ireland.



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The Public Defender of Rights of Slovak republic

The Public Defender of Rights is an independent body of the Slovak Republic, whose position and competences are specified by the Constitution of the Slovak Republic and the Act No. 564/2001 Col. of Laws, on Public Defender of Rights, as amended. Currently, JUDr. Martina Rosinová execises the function.

According to Art.  151a sect. 1 of the Constitution of the Slovak Republic, the Public Defender of Rights is an independent body which in the scope and in manner laid down by a law protects the fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons and legal entities in the proceedings before public administration bodies and other public bodies, if activities, decision making or inactivity of the bodies are inconsistent with legal order. In cases laid down by a law the public defender of rights can participate in calling the persons acting in public bodies to responsibility, if the persons have violated fundamental right or freedom of natural persons and legal entities. All public power bodies shall provide the Public Defender of Rights with needed co-action.

Scope and manner, in which the Public Defender of Rights as independent body participates in protection of fundamental rights and freedoms of natural persons and legal entities, as well as details of the election and the recall of the Public Defender of Rights, his competence, the conditions of performance of his function, the manner of legal protection and enforcement of rights of natural persons and legal entities are specified by the Act on Public Defender of Rights.

Fundamental rights and freedoms, in protection of which the Public Defender of Rights participates, are established in the Chapter Two of the Constitution of the Slovak Republic and in the international treaties and agreements ratified and promulgated in the way laid down by a law.

Anybody who believes that his fundamental rights and freedoms were infringed contrary to the legal order or principles of the democratic state and the rule of law in relation to the activities, decision-making or inactivity of a public administration body can turn to the Public Defender of Rights with a complaint. The Public Defender of Rights may also investigate ex officio.

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The Parliamentary Ombudsmen JO

The Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO) are appointed by the Swedish Riksdag (Parliament) to ensure that public authorities and their staff comply with the laws and other statutes governing their actions.

The Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO) are directly accountable to the Swedish Riksdag and form one pillar of parliamentary control in Sweden.  The task of the Ombudsmen is to review the implementation of laws and other regulations in the public sector on behalf of the Riksdag and independent of the executive power. This review includes courts of law and other public authorities as well as their employees. The Ombudsmen are completely independent in their decisions.

Parliamentary control is a collective term for the Riksdag’s special powers to review and monitor the work of the Government and the public administration. Its three pillars comprise:

  • Parliamentary review: the right of Members of the Riksdag to pose questions to the Government, the Parliamentary Committee on the Constitution (KU) reviews the actions of ministers and the handling of government matters, the Riksdag has the power to initiate a vote of no confidence in a minister or the Government.
  • Judicial review: The Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO) ensures that government agencies treat citizens in accordance with the law.
  • Efficiency audits: The Swedish National Audit Office reviews what government funds are used for and how efficiently they are used.


Task of the Parliamentary Ombudsman

The main task of the Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO) is to ensure compliance with the law. The Ombudsmen are specifically tasked with ensuring that public authorities and courts abide by the provisions of the Instrument of Government concerning impartiality and objectivity and that the public sector does not infringe on the basic freedoms and rights of the citizens.

The ombudsmen’s enquiries are prompted both by complaints filed by the public or initiated by the ombudsmen themselves. Regularly inspections are made of various public authorities and courts in the country.

The Parliamentary ombudsmen (JO) are also appointed as National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) which has the task of monitoring to make sure that individuals deprived of their liberty are not exposed to cruel, inhumane or other degrading treatment or punishment.

Powers and sanctions

  • The Parliamentary Ombudsmen have the authority to issue statements if the measures taken by a public authority or a public official are in conflict with an existing law or other statute or are incorrect or inappropriate in some other way.
  • The ombudsmen have the right to issue advisory opinions intended to promote uniform and appropriate application of the law.
  • In the role of extra-ordinary prosecutor, the ombudsmen may initiate legal proceedings against an official who, disregarding the obligations of his office or his mandate, has committed a criminal offence other than an offence against the Freedom of the Press Act and the right to freedom of expression.
  • The ombudsmen may report a civil servant for dereliction of duty.

The name of the Parliamentary Ombudsman in charge of police complaints is Cecilia Renfors.

A detailed presentation of the Parliamentary Ombudsmen in English can be find at

In 2016 the Parliamentary Ombudsmen received about 1 000 complaints against the police.

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The police Mediation’s office

Existing since the year 2016 in connection with the adoption of the new law on the Geneva police, the police Meidation’s office is an independent structure dedicated to dialogue, information and advice towards the population, the cantonal police and the municipal police forces.

The police Mediation’s office provides professionals of mediation  in order to hear grievances and to accompany applicants towards building a non-judicial solution that is acceptable to them.

Name of the person in charge of the institution and/or to the Deputy in charge of security issues

Fabienne Bugnon, main Mediator

Jacopo Rivara, Assistant Mediator Assistant

Martine Golay-Ramel, Mediator Assistant

Activity report 2016

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Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission

The Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) is an independent statutory body, established under the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and set up in 2007. It replaced the Garda Síochána Complaints Board. Its mission is to provide efficient, fair and independent oversight of policing in Ireland.

The Garda Síochána Act 2005 (section 65) provides for three Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commissioners, appointed by the President on the nomination of Government and the passage of resolutions by the Oireachtas (Irish government). One of the Commissioners is appointed as Chairperson. A Commissioner’s term of office is 3-6 years and he/she may be reappointed for a second term. The Act allows for the Commission to act normally with one or more vacancies among its members. The Commission is the equivalent of the Board of GSOC and holds monthly Commission meetings.

The organisation also has a Director of Administration and a Director of Investigations.

At the end of 2016, the organisation had 77 staff. 20 are employed in the Administration Directorate and 57 in the Operations Directorate. Additional to this are the three Commissioners, a Superintendent seconded from An Garda Síochána and two ICT contractors.

The Garda Ombudsman’s mission is to provide the public with an independent and effective oversight of policing, and to deal with the public’s complaints concerning Gardaí fairly and efficiently so that everyone can have confidence in the complaints.

Organisational Structure


Three people make up the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. They are :



Ms Justice Mary Ellen Ring


Mr Mark Toland


Mr Kieran Fitzgerald

Our Management Team

Director of Administration

Anthony Duggan

Director of Investigations

Darren Wright

 Head of Legal

Niamh Mc Keague


GSOC’s total budget for 2016 was 9,546,000, Pay & Allowances amounting to €5,026,035 and non-pay to €3,360,295.

Powers and Competence

GSOC’s primary responsibility is to deal with complaints made by members of the public concerning the conduct of members of the Garda Síochána. There are several different ways these may be dealt with.

Types of investigation which can be undertaken by the Garda Ombudsman:

Criminal investigations

All allegations of criminal offences (for example assault) by gardaí are investigated by the Garda Ombudsman’s own investigators.

Disciplinary investigations

There are three ways allegations of breaches of discipline can be handled:

Informal resolution – Sometimes it makes most sense for the Garda Ombudsman to try to work with both parties to resolve a situation informally, e.g. if a person is complaining that their property has not been returned. This can be much quicker than a formal investigation. It is a voluntary process, requiring the consent of both parties.

Disciplinary investigation by the Garda Síochána (s.94) – These are conducted by Garda superintendents (GSIOs) according to the Garda Síochána (Discipline) Regulations, 2007. They can be supervised or unsupervised by a GSOC investigator, depending on the seriousness of the allegation.

  • If they are unsupervised, the Protocols between GSOC and the Garda Síochána say that they must be completed and an investigation report provided to GSOC, for the complainant, within 16 weeks. Typical examples of cases that are investigated in this way would be an allegation that a house was searched without a warrant, or that there was abuse of authority in the manner in which an arrest was conducted.
  • If it is supervised, a designated GSOC investigator may meet with the GSIO to agree the investigation plan, can direct and partake in the investigative actions, and must receive interim reports. The Protocols say that supervised disciplinary investigations must be completed and an investigation report provided within 20 weeks. An example might be a more serious allegation of neglect of duty, for example lack of, or insufficient, investigation of a serious crime reported to the gardaí.

Non-criminal investigation by GSOC (s.95) – Certain disciplinary investigations may be undertaken by the Garda Ombudsman’s own investigators.

GSOC has several other responsibilities unrelated to complaints. These are:

To conduct independent investigations, following referral by the Garda Síochána, in circumstances where it appears that the conduct of a garda may have resulted in the death of, or serious harm to, a person (provided for by s.102(1) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005). 52 such referrals were received in 2015, of which 15 related to fatalities.

To investigate matters in relation to the conduct of gardaí, when it is in the public interest, even if a complaint has not been received (provided for by s.102(4), 102(4)A, 102(5) and 102(7) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, as amended). 12 such investigations were opened in 2015.

To investigate (with the consent of the Minister for Justice and Equality) where there is a concern that the Garda Commissioner may have committed an offence or behaved in a manner that would constitute serious misconduct (provided for by s.102B of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, as amended).

To examine any “practice, policy or procedure” of the Garda Síochána. Two such examinations have been conducted by GSOC to date (provided for by s.106 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005).

Our Annual Reports each year detail the amount of activity undertaken by the organisation in the previous year in relation to these responsibilities.

Number of Complaints in 2016 in the field of police complaints

GSOC received 1758 complaints containing 3768 allegations in 2016

Link to GSOC 2016 Annual Report:


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Independent Police Complaints Board

The Independent Police Complaints Board was established and initiated its activity in 2008. The idea of establishing an independent body that would monitor the work of the Police (monitoring whether its conduct is in compliance with the criteria of the rule of law), came up earlier, inter alia in the proposals and recommendations of different NGOs. The existence of such a Board is not unique among other European countries, but the importance of such bodies is still not widely acknowledged.

In 2007 with the modification of Act XXXIV of 1994 on the Police (hereinafter: Police Act) the Parliament amended the provisions for the structure of the police and established the Board. The Board works as an organ of civil control by giving a new platform to the citizens to complain against Police conduct.

The Board

Lawyers with a clean record may be elected as members of the Board, who are eligible to vote and gained outstanding experiences in the field of the protection of fundamental rights. Recently there are five members of the Board, of which four were elected by the Parliament on 13 February 2014 with qualified majority for six years on the joint proposal of the Committee on Human Rights and the Committee on Law Enforcement of the Parliament.

Tamás Lukács was elected as the new chairman of the Board, who is an expert in international human rights law. Between 2010 and 2014 Mr. Lukács was the chairman of the Human Rights, Minority, Civil and Religious Affairs Committee of the Hungarian National Assembly. He was a member of the Hungarian National Assembly in 1999; he taught media ethics between 1998 and 2006 in Pázmány Péter Catholic University. He has been a lawyer since 1996 and was a board member of Magyar Rádió (Hungarian Radio) between 1996 and 2000.

The deputy chairman is Ákos Kozma, who was elected as a member of the Board on 23 July 2010, he is an attorney at law and a law professor.

The other members of the Board are:

Nóra Fráterné Ferenczy, lawyer, expert in bank law, former control lawyer of the Hungarian Tax and Financial Control Administration

– Domonkos Wildner, lawyer, was an assistant of the Constitutional Committee of the Hungarian National Assembly, he was the secretariat of the special group, which investigated the police misconducts of October 2006.

– Csaba Cservák, lawyer, lecturer at the University of Szeged and Károli Gáspár University, he was the head of the Bureau of the President of the Republic.

 The Competence of the Board

The aim of the Board is, on the basis of the Police Act, to conduct complaint procedures – which fell into the excusive competence of the Police before – on its own, from a fundamental rights protective point of view and irrespectively of the subordinate relations. According to Article 92 (1) of the Police Act those police measures and omissions fall into the competence of the Board, which arise in connection with the application of Chapters IV, V and VI of the Police Act.

Accordingly the Board can proceed and investigate certain measures or acts – and decide whether fundamental rights were violated – in the following cases:

– obligation of the performance of police tasks and instructions, and their violation or omission (especially, but not exclusively: obligation to take measures, requirement of proportionality, obligation of police officers to be identifiable, obligation of police officers to provide help;

– police measures or omissions, and their lawfulness (especially, but not exclusively: ID check, search of clothes, luggage and vehicle, arrest, short-term arrest, alien-policing measure, measure taken in private apartment, traffic-related measure);

– application and lawfulness of coercive means (especially, but not exclusively: applying physical force, handcuffing, chemical device, electric shock device, police baton, roadblock, using a weapon, acting in group, quelling a crowd).

Procedure of the Board

The Board conducts procedures initiated upon request, the Board is not able to act ex officio. The procedure of the Board is free of charge and expenses, however the complainant cannot be a fictional person and the complaint cannot be anonym (but later the complainant may ask for the deprival of the decision from personal data.)

It must be emphasized that complaints shall be filed with the Board within twenty days from the infringement of law, but in case the complainant became aware of the infringement at a later time, the deadline shall be calculated from this later date.

Activities of the Board in numbers

In 2016 the Board received 235 complaints. In 2016, the most frequently questioned fundamental rights were the right to fair proceedings (39, 1 %), the right to human dignity (23, 7 %), personal freedom (15, 7 %). The most frequently violated fundamental rights were in last year: the right to fair trial (31, 1 %), the right to human dignity (28, 1 %) and personal freedom (21, 5 %).

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Defensor del Pueblo

The article 54 of the Spanish Constitution came to spend the creation of the Defensor del Pueblo in Spain, through the adoption of the Organic Law 3/1981 of 6 April 1981 for the creation of a High Commission Parliament designated to defend human rights.

The Defensor del Pueblo is elected for a period of 5 years by the House of Representatives and the Senate must vote by a majority of three-fifths. It is independent, does not receive instructions from any authority and exercises its functions independently while enjoying inviolability and immunity during his term.


Organisational Structure

The incumbent from July 22nd, on is Mr. Francisco Fernández Marugán who will be the acting ombudsman until a new one is appointed by majority of 3/5 of members of Parliament (Congres and Senate)

The Spanish Ombudsman is assisted by a First Deputy competent for the economy, finance, housing, immigration, equal treatment and environmental planning and a second Deputy, responsible for security issues, justice, employment, education, culture, civil servents health and social policy. They are appointed with the consent of Parliament, and form the General Secretariat of the Council of Coordination and Home Affairs whose functions are defined in Article 18 of the Rules of Organization and Operation.

The ethics in security is the second deputy competence. The department in charge of ethics in security is the department of Security and Justice.

The department has an area manager advisor and 7 technical advisers among which only two work with issues related to ethics in security.


Organisational Chart: (English) (Spanish)


Powers and Competences

The Department of Security and Justice, depending on the Second Deputy Ombudsman, is in charge of the investigation of complaints about the actions of the Security and Police Forces, the Judiciary, the situation of prisoners, public safety issues, the treatment of victims of crime and road safety.

It receives requests for actions of police forces and other security agencies in the administration of justice, the situation of prisoners, public safety issues, and pays particular attention to victims of crime and safety road.

The office can take the initiative on cases that have been brought to its attention regardless of the means when the cases constitute a violation of fundamental rights and freedoms.

The complaints procedure is the same in every case, according to the article 18 of the Organic Act regarding the Ombudsman. Although the Ombudsman is not empowered to modify or overrule the acts and decisions of the Public Administration, he may nevertheless suggest modifications in the criteria employed in their production.

The Spanish Ombudsman is entitled, in the course of his investigations, to give advice and make recommendations to authorities and officials in the Public Administration, remind them of their legal duties and make suggestions regarding the adoption of new measures.

The Public Administration may accept or reject the resolutions, as the power of the Ombudsman is not executive.

Number of Complaints in 2016 in the field of police complaints (link to details in English if available):

  • Public safety: 1.085
  • Penitentiary centers:  582


Annual Report Summary 2016 (English ed.)  will be published shortly: 

Annual Report 2016 (Spanish ed.)


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Chancellor of Justice of the Republic of Estonia

The institution of the Chancellor of Justice is established by the Constitution of the Republic of Estonia. The Chancellor of Justice is an official who is independent in his or her activities. The legal state of the Chancellor of Justice and the work procedures of the Office of the Chancellor of Justice are stated in the Chancellor of Justice Act.

The Chancellor of Justice is appointed by the Riigikogu (parliament) for seven years, according to the proposal of the President of the Republic. On 20 January 2015, the Riigikogu appointed Prof Dr Ülle Madise as the Chancellor of Justice. She gave the oath of office and assumed the office of the Chancellor of Justice on 31 March 2015.

Under the Chancellor of Justice Act, with regard to issues of police authorities the Chancellor is competent to verify conformity of legislation with the Constitution and existing statutes (i.e. constitutional review competence) and to verify the activities of representatives of police authorities (i.e. the ombudsman competence). Since 18 February 2007, the Chancellor of Justice is the national preventive mechanism stipulated in the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, whose duty is to inspect institutions where the freedom of people is restricted in order to prevent torture and other cruel or degrading treatment. In addition, from 1 January 2015 the Chancellor of Justice has the competency to supervise compliance with fundamental rights and freedoms when the covert gathering, processing, use and supervision of personal data and related data by agencies of executive power (e.g. by secret police) is organised.

Once a year, the Chancellor of Justice presents to the Riigikogu an Annual Report of the Chancellor of Justice’s activities. On one hand, this is a report of the Chancellor of Justice to the parliament about fulfilment of his/her main tasks during the previous 12 months. On the other hand, presenting such an overview allows the Chancellor of Justice to draw the attention of the Riigikogu to shortcomings and legal problems discovered by him/her that have appeared upon implementing the Constitution.

Please find recent cases about police authorities in the Annual Report 2015-2016

– Inspections to police detention facilities, pp 21-22

– Inspections to detention facilities for aliens and to detention centre, pp 25-27

– Law enforcement agencies, pp 43-46

Who we are

The Independent Police Complaints Authorities’ Network (IPCAN) is an informal network of exchange and cooperation amongst independent structures in charge of external control of security forces.  These bodies, mainly from European Union member states, receive and process complaints against public security forces, and sometimes, against private ones as well.

Today IPCAN brings together national counterparts from about 20 countries.

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Objectives of IPCAN

We are convinced that the effectiveness of a rule of law is based, amongst others, on the existence of independent bodies with an impartial view on the activities of the professionals engaged in security missions. Beyond the organisation of Seminars and Conferences, we are also confident in the fact that a coordinated commitment between our institutions will carry on the values prescribed by the international instruments guaranteeing the fundamental rights of citizens in democratic States.

We call for the advancement of the status of independence, of impartiality and the powers of the institutions responsible for the external control of security forces in Europe. Our challenge will be to increase the level of demand, the level of independence and the investigative and advocacy capacities of the police complaints’ institutions in Europe” Jacques Toubon, on March 23, 2015 in Paris.

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Independant Police Complaints' Authority Network