Several members of the Independent Police Complaints Authorities’ Network (IPCAN) met in Strasbourg on 23, 24 and 25 May 2023, as part of the annual conference of the Council of Europe’s Network of National Correspondents of Police Authorities, a newly created network of which IPCAN has been an official observer member since 2023.
The Council of Europe conference theme was “Police activities in a context of violence and use of force”. It was decided in connection with Recommendation 2230 (2022) “Fighting and preventing excessive and unjustified use of force by law enforcement officers”, voted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in April 2022.
The conference was designed to enable participants – police representatives from Council of Europe member states, academics and members of the European Council of Police Trade Unions (CESP) – to discuss the use of force during police activities. The practical implementation of human rights standards in police services was also discussed, with particular reference to the non-excessive, justified and proportionate use of force, in accordance with the standards of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT). IPCAN members gave presentations on the network and how the various institutions are investigating the complaints received on the issue of disproportionate use of force by the police.
Several IPCAN members met before the conference on 23 May 2023 to discuss the issue of the use of force by the police and identify common difficulties or issues specific to each of the institutions. Following this meeting, 16 members drafted a joint declaration calling on PCAN member states to ensure that their police forces only use force when strictly necessary and in a proportionate manner. The declaration contains 21 recommendations concerning the management of public demonstrations by police forces and police operations as a whole.
The declaration is available below.