Logo Assembly Logo Hemicycle

Preventing and fighting excessive use of force by law enforcement officers

PACE today denounced the excessive use of force in many cases by law enforcement officers in member States, “violating the principles of necessity, proportionality, precaution, and non-discrimination", notably in policing peaceful demonstrations, in handling irregular migrant flows and in restoring public order in post-conflict situations. “This excessive use of force by police is not a number of isolated incidents, but part of a pattern,” the parliamentarians said.

In adopting a resolution, based on the report by Oleksandr Merezhko (Ukraine, SOC), PACE underlined that, in accordance with international legal instruments, law enforcement officers may use force "only when strictly necessary", adding that the international standards in this area should be brought together in a consolidated form for clarity.

In this context, PACE proposed that national legislation should be based on international legal principles; prevent and punish excessive use of force by law enforcement officers in whatever context; and regulate the use of weapons and other lethal or non-lethal tools. It also recommended setting up independent mechanisms, within or outside police institutions, to conduct prompt investigations in order to ensure accountability of those involved.

Finally, the Parliamentary Assembly recommended that the Committee of Ministers “launch the drafting process for a new Council of Europe Convention on the prevention of excessive police violence”, which would codify the highest standards and best practices in this field.