Danish Independent Police Complaints Authority

The Danish Independent Police Complaints Authority was established on 1 January 2012.

The Danish Independent Police Complaints Authority handles investigation of criminal cases against police officers and considers and decides complaints of police misconduct. Headed by a council and a chief executive, the Police Complaints Authority exercises its functions in complete independence of both police and prosecutors.

The goal of the independent complaints against the police as an independent authority is to:

  • Helping to ensure legal security for all parties involved in the process of complaints against the police ;
  • Maximize the confidence of both the public and the police in dealing with matters relating to the police ;
  • Ensure proper implementation and rapid procedures, including decisions on an objective basis ;
  • Carry out its tasks with a high quality service and efficiency ;
  • Ensuring a high degree of accessibility for citizens, information dissemination and give citizens an overview of the management of complaints against the police; and
  • Establishing and developing strong international cooperation with similar bodies in other European countries.

Organisational structure

The Independent Police Complaints Authority is an independent authority headed by the Police Complaints Council and the Chief Executive.

The Police Complaints Council is the supreme governing body of the Authority and consists of a Chair, who must be a High Court judge, an attorney, a professor of jurisprudence and two representatives of the general public. Members of the Police Complaints Council are appointed by the Minister of Justice for four years at a time and are eligible for re-appointment once.

The Chief Executive is in charge of the day-to-day operations of the Police Complaints Authority, which must be managed in accordance with the directions and guidelines issued by the Police Complaints Council.

The Police Complaints Authority also has several investigators as well as legal and administrative staff in its employ.

Powers and competences

A complaint can be made about the police to the Police Complaints Authority if the police have acted in a criticisable manner.

Criticisable manner is when the police:

  • have spoken rudely or acted inappropriately,
  • were too rough when arresting a suspect,
  • have abused their powers.

The complaint may concern an incident involving the person who is complaining or an incident where a person was a bystander. Complaint on behalf of somebody else can also he made.

If the police have committed an offence in the course of their duties, a report to the Police Complaints Authority should be made. It costs nothing to complain about or report the police.

The job of the Police Complaints Authority is to investigate criminal offences committed by police officers on duty and incidents where persons have died or been seriously injured as a consequence of police intervention or while in police custody. The Police Complaints Authority also considers and decides complaints of police misconduct.

The procedure differs depending on whether the complaint concerns a criminal offence or policemisconduct

Complaints of misconduct – Part 93b of the Administration of Justice Act

Pursuant to section 1019n of the Danish Administration of Justice Act, the Police Complaints Authority must decide a complaint within a reasonable time of receipt. If the Police Complaints Authority does not manage to decide the complaint within six months of receipt, the complainant and the police officer complained of will be notified of the reason for the delay and the expected date of the decision.

Complaints of an offence – Part 93c of the Administration of Justice Act

If the Police Complaints Authority has received a complaint of an offence committed by a police officer and has not, within one year of receipt, made any decision to dismiss the complaint, discontinue the investigation, withdraw charges, dismiss charges or institute criminal proceedings, or requested a court hearing for the purpose of summary proceedings pursuant to section 831 of the Administration of Justice Act, the complainant and any other parties involved must be notified of it in writing

Incoming cases 2016

Type of Case Number of cases
Complaints of criminal offences 464
Traffic incidents 547
§ 1020 a, stk. 2 – Respond cases 26
Complaints of conduct 508
In total 1545

 

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