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Bahrain Police Code of Conduct Published to Build Bridges of Confidence
06 : 09 PM - 15/03/2012
Manama, March 14. (BNA) -- A tough new code of conduct for Bahrain's police force enshrining principles of human rights and freedom for all citizens has been published by His Excellency Minister of Interior Lieutenant-General Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa.

The new code, requiring officers to abide by ten principles including limited use of force and a policy of zero tolerance on torture and mistreatment, was one of the recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).

It states that officers must show "respect for human dignity", make arrests in accordance with international human rights standards, and forbids the use of force "except when absolutely necessary". Officers must respect the code which should be their "guide and compass" while at work. It is based on principles enshrined in other international police codes, including those approved by the United Nations, and drawn up by the government of Australia, Northern Ireland and other Arab nations.

A new Internal Affairs Department is being established within the Ministry of Interior (MOI), and will be responsible for disciplinary reviews, as well as overseeing the new Police Code of Conduct.

In addition, the newly created position for an independent Ombudsman for policing will be entirely independent from the Ministry of Interior, and will have the responsibility of conducting investigations into allegations made against the police and other issues that relate to public confidence in policing.
The move comes as the Government of Bahrain is making swift progress in satisfying the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI)'s recommendations.

The Government has already initiated prosecutions of around 50 officers accused of mistreatment of protestors during last year's unrest in Bahrain. It has also brought in international police experts John Timoney and John Yates to advise on best practice on policing in the Kingdom. And it has initiated a detailed and comprehensive new training programme for all officers and members of the security forces.

Commentating on this new era of policing, the Interior Minister Shaikh Rashid said: "This code of conduct represents a new social treaty between members of the Bahraini society and the police which will mark the start of a new era and a correct path to building bridges of confidence between the united Bahraini society and the police, based on the rule of law, integrity, transparency, tolerance, and the breaking of psychological barriers between them."

He added: "The Ministry is completely aware that its objective is to achieve security for the State and its citizens within the framework of the law. This mission reflects a tradition stemming from society and is in harmony with its interests. Enforcing the law must be based on the values of justice, equity, integrity and commitment to the standards of human rights."

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