Speaking at the Danish Chairmanship Seminar on combatting torture in Copenhagen, the President of the CPT stressed the importance of creating a police culture that sees ill-treatment as unprofessional. He also stated that the CPT had documented instances of alleged torture in nearly a quarter of Council of Europe member States since 2011. “There can be no complacency in the fight against ill-treatment. The fundamental procedural safeguards advocated by the CPT to prevent ill-treatment by the police must be implemented. Practices within Europe should be shared. Rigorous recruitment and training programmes must be supplemented by action from all actors in the criminal justice system to the effect that instances of ill-treatment by the police are regarded as unacceptable and will be prosecuted accordingly. There must be a clear message from political leaders that ill-treatment by the police will not be tolerated.”
The seminar was organised by the Danish Chairmanship of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers in Copenhagen on 22 and 23 March to discuss ways to strengthen the prevention of torture and ill-treatment during police custody, the time when persons are most at risk from being ill-treated. It was organised with the support of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), the Convention against Torture Initiative (CTI) and the Danish Institute against Torture.
Representatives from the Council of Europe member states shared national experiences on non-coercive investigative and interviewing police techniques and on the implementation of safeguards to prevent torture and other ill-treatment. These safeguards include, in particular, informing persons apprehended by the police about their rights, effective access to a lawyer, notification of custody and access to a doctor.