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Civilian Oversight & Police Accountability Print E-mail
Building Public Confidence in Police Through Civilian Oversight
Emma Phillips and Jennifer Trone
Vera Institute of Justice
New York, USA
September 2002
Published in English
In both new and more mature democratic societies, citizens are putting increased pressure on police not only to control crime but also to treat everyone they contact fairly and with respect. This paper explores the different ways that citizens can monitor and shape law enforcement practices, and the challenges of that work. It captures issues discussed at an international meeting on civilian oversight of police held in Los Angeles in May 2002. The paper begins with a look at why civilian oversight arises, moves on to consider some of the tensions and competing interests related to crafting an appropriate role for civilian overseers, and ends with discussions about how overseers can maintain independence and objectivity while collaborating with police and the need to hold themselves accountable.

Can Federal Intervention Bring Lasting Improvement in Local Policing?: The Pittsburgh Consent Decree’
Robert C. Davis, Nicole J. Henderson, and Christopher W. Ortiz
Vera
New York, USA
April 2005
English
This study sheds light on ways in which federal oversight of local police forces suspected of patterns of abuse can have continuing benefits. Vera researchers found that reforms initiated under federal oversight—including new systems to track the use of force and traffic stops and searches; new procedures to hold officers accountable; and new policies and training—were sustained even after that oversight ended. Despite recent financial strains, those reforms remain in place today, and the opinions of community leaders and citizens reflect significant improvements in service. Yet Vera also found that many citizens and front-line officers remain skeptical about the reforms' impact. The report follows an earlier study which examined the impact of the consent decree during its implementation.

Civilian Oversight and Accountability of Police in Nigeria
E.E.O.Alemika and I.C.Chukwuma
CLEEN
Lagos, Nigeria
2003
English
This publication is based on a 3-day workshop on Civilian-Police Public Access Procedure, organised by the Police Service Commission and the Center for Law Enforcement Education Nigeria (CLEEN) in collaboration with the Open Society Justice Initiative and the Vera Institute of Justice. The publication is a product of the contributions of many organizations and individuals. It is a must read for all those interested in police oversight and accountability in Nigeria.

Civilian Oversight of Policing: Lessons from the Literature
Joel Miller
Vera Institute of Justice
New York, USA
September 2002
Published in English
This paper reviews the English-language literature on the civilian oversight of police.

Civilian Oversight of the Police in Brazil: Limits and Possibilities
Julita Lemgruber
Center for Studies on Public Security and Citizenship
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
January 2003
Published in Portuguese and English
The creation of police ombudsman’s offices in Brazil is a recent phenomenon and an important milestone. This report describes the results of an extensive evaluation of the ombudsman’s offices in five Brazilian states, including São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The report examines whether individuals who lodge complaints about alleged police misconduct are satisfied with the response of the ombudsman’s office, how police officers named in complaints view the process, and how citizens and the police generally view the ombudsman’s office. Among its most important findings, the study revealed that the ombudsman’s offices are not able to provide the necessary feedback to individuals who lodge complaints and that two-thirds of complainants surveyed said they were dissatisfied at the end of the process. The report ends by proposing a new way of organizing the work of the police ombudsman’s office to make it a more effective public service.

Civilian Oversight of the Police in Brazil: The Case of the Ombudsman’s Offices
Julita Lemgruber

CESeC
Brazil
2002
English
The text that follows is the executive summary of thorough research conducted by CESeC in the years 2000 and 2001 in the police ombudsman offices in 5 Brazilian states. The study was designed to compare what is being done in Brazil, in the area of civilian oversight of the police, to the international experience. The final product is a book entitled “Quem Vigia os Vigias” (Who Watches the Watchers), which was written by Julita Lemgruber, Leonarda Musumeci and Ignacio Cano.

Turning Necessity into Virtue: Pittsburgh’s Experience with a Federal Consent Decree
Robert C. Davis, Christopher W. Ortiz, Nicole J. Henderson, Joel Miller, and Michelle K. Massie
Vera Institute of Justice
New York, USA
September 2002
Published in English
In 1997, the U.S. Justice Department for the first time used its power to sue a city over a “pattern or practice” of policing that violated federal law or the U.S. Constitution. The department entered into a five-year consent degree with the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that police officials and civil rights groups generally view as a success in terms of increasing police accountability and improving officer training. This report examines specific elements of the Pittsburgh experience that helped to bring the police department into compliance with the decree, such as a strong implementation committee and an early-warning system that could identify officers in need of corrective supervision, and highlights issues that require continued attention, such as community relations and employee morale.

Who Watches the Watchers? A Study of Police Oversight in Brazil
Julita Lemgruber, Leonarda Musumeci, and Ignacio Cano
Record
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2003
Published in Portuguese
Who Watches the Watchers? is the result of a research project aimed at improving police oversight, currently limited to weak action by the police internal affairs and ombudsman’s offices. The authors interviewed the internal affairs officers, the ombudsmen, employees of the ombudsmen’s offices, and ordinary low-income citizens whose rights had been violated by the police. The results show the difficulties encountered by the two agencies in overseeing and punishing bad police. In addition, the book provides a panel of previously unpublished and highly qualified information on the most serious crimes committed by “lawmen” against Brazilian society: corruption, extermination, and abuse of power. This reading is indispensable for counteracting the conservative notion that the law hampers cracking down on crime. The book also presents studies by specialists on police oversight from other countries, including Christopher Stone and Merrick Bobb.

Altus Police Accountability Conference in the Hague (materials)

Dimensions of Police Accountability in India’
IDC
IDC
Chandigarh, India
October 2005
English
The monograph contains papers highlighting issues in police accountability from perspectives of police, politics, media and gender in the Indian context. The report captures the challenges of an enforcement oriented maintenance of law and order with attempts to secure a just delivery of police services in a society besieged with multicultural tensions. It debates the delivery of safety and justice by provision of social controls that are directional and reformative in operationalising the institutional mechanisms of police internal controls.

Diagnosis of Corruption in the Russian Federation: A Sociological Analysis
Georgi A. Satarov
INDEM Foundation
Moscow, Russia
2002
Published in Russian
Based on in-depth studies, surveys, and interviews, this report documents for the first time ever the characteristics of corruption in the Russian Federation and rates the level of corruption in various government agencies and official structures.

Hope Betrayed? A Report on Impunity and State-Sponsored Violence in Nigeria
CLEEN Foundation and the World Organisation Against Torture
Lagos, Nigeria
2002
Published in English
An analysis of violence and human rights violations, including extra-judicial killings, rape, and torture, under the government of President Obasanjo.

 

 

 
 



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