Bahrain plans to set up ombudsman
Manama, February 28, 2012
An independent ombudsman is being set up to investigate 'serious allegations' against the police.
It will be completely independent of the Interior Ministry and will also enforce the training of officers to professional standards.
The National Commission, tasked with following up recommendations made in the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report, said an internal affairs department will also be set up within the ministry to investigate complaints against policemen.
It will be equipped to handle grievances from people or organisations, while protecting their safety and privacy and have the authority to conduct disciplinary or criminal proceedings against those found in breach of the Convention against Torture, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Bahrain Criminal Code.
The Commission said a decree was now being drafted by external legal experts in consultation with the UK's former top counter-terrorism officer John Yates and Miami police chief John Timoney.
It said progress had also been made on the creation of a code of conduct for police.
It will be based on international policing codes, including the United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the European Code of Police Ethics.
'The code adopts a principles-based approach, setting out the broad duties of police officers in relation to various aspects of their work, including the use of force, respect for human dignity and maintaining the rule of law,' said www.govactions.bh, an official government website set up to provide updates on the progress of reforms.
Officials last week declared 20 BICI recommendations had already been fully or partially implemented.