U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Policing and Human Rights: An Introduction

NCJ Number
Policing & Society Volume: 10 Issue: 1 Dated: April 2000 Pages: 1-10
James Sheptycki
Date Published
April 2000
10 pages
This article discusses the challenges of seeking police reform worldwide, particularly in societies in political transition.
Article One of the Universal Declaration states that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” The historical significance of the emergence of human rights is that it began to erode the sanctity of internal affairs of sovereign states. It gave rise to a new approach in international relations -- the humanitarian intervention. The use of force, including military intervention, can be undertaken on behalf of human rights and universal values. These issues become more complex when the relationship between human rights and economic globalization is considered. The values of human rights, free trade, and policing are linked since they share the objective of improving the quality of life. This collection of articles focuses on Hungary, Romania, Russia, the United States, South Africa, and India. Democracies control their police in three ways: through police departments; through other institutions of the state, such as the law and police review boards; and through institutions of civil society. Control at every level must be strong. The mechanisms that hold police accountable for public safety should be coordinated with those that hold police accountable for corruption and abuse. An indispensable step in enhancing public safety and human rights is specifying the political structures for fostering police accountability. Another important step is fostering successful interplay between local, national, and international levels of police accountability. Efficient, effective, and respectful policing is the foundation on which human rights are built. 16 references