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Bahrain to have independent ombudsman

(Our Correspondent) / 28 February 2012

MANAMA - Bahrain announced on Monday the establishment of an independent ombudsman, outside the purview of Ministry of Interior, to oversee and conduct investigations into the serious allegations made against the police and other issues affecting the public confidence in police.

This was revealed by the government through Bahrain Action website set up to highlight the progress made by the country in the implementation of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry.

Minister of interior approved on January 30 a new code of conduct for Bahrain police. The code was drafted in consultation with former head of Miami Police John Timoney, as well as legal and policing experts, and is based on various global policing codes, including the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the European Code. It adopts the “principle-based” approach, setting out the broad duties of police officers in relation to their work, including the use of force, respect for human dignity and maintaining the rule of law. As the introduction says, the code constitutes a new social contract between police and Bahraini society.

The ministry is also about to establish a new Internal Affairs Department with internal responsibility for first order disciplinary review. The relevant decree and order to set up both the Ombudsman and the Internal Affairs department are being drafted by the External Legal Experts in consultation with former assistant commissioner in the London Metropolitan Police Service John Yates and Timoney, both recruited recently to reform police work. All the enabling documents will make clear that the attorney-general will retain primacy on criminal investigations. A single protocol is also being drafted to address the respective responsibilities of and cooperation between the Ombudsman, Internal Affairs department, and the attorney-general.

shamada@khaleejtimes.com

 
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