Towards international standards for independent police accountability bodies?

Hartmut Aden, Anja Johansen

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Over the past decades, several international declarations concerning independent police oversight have been issued by the UN, the European Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as by international human rights NGOs. Compared to how marginal the issue was in the late 20th century, the ubiquitous audio-visual recording devices and access to instant mass-dissemination through the internet has led to an increasing awareness both in the general public and among academics of the limitations in accountability mechanisms for incidents of police malpractice. In many Western countries, pressure has been gaining momentum for more direct accountability of police personnel to individual members of the public who believe themselves to be victims of transgressive policing. This paper explores the dynamics pushing towards international standards, and how these dynamics interact with forces at the national and sub-national level in countries seeking to keep the handling of complaints against the police an internal matter of discipline and institutional learning, rather than direct accountability to the public. From a research perspective, the paper also explores standards for data on police accountability forums needed for comparative international research. Thus far, data published by external police oversight bodies does not follow specific standards and is difficult to compare.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2022
Event22nd Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology - Malaga, Spain
Duration: 21 Sept 202224 Sept 2022
Conference number: 22


Conference22nd Annual Conference of the European Society of Criminology
Abbreviated titleEuroCrim 2022
Internet address


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