From Iceland — Police Supervisory Committee Established

Police Supervisory Committee Established

Published December 27, 2016

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An independent body whose mission it is to supervise police activity and receive complaints from the general public has finally been established.

Vísir reports that this committee was formed in conjunction with changes made to the law on police work passed in parliament last spring. An independent, municipal body, the committee’s purpose amongst other things will be to receive communications from the general public on police work, and assess whether or not the behavior of one or more officers violates regulations and is punishable.

The impetus for the formation of the committee were numerous complaints from the general public about police behavior in early 2015, most of them concerning arrests and other forms of police coercion. However, the Parliamentary Ombudsman pointed out at the time that there was no legislative recourse for receiving and handling such complaints. As such, the Minister of the Interior drafted legislation that would form such a committee.

The chair of the committee is Associate Professor at the University of Iceland Trausti Fannar Valsson, who was appointed without a specific nomination. Other committee members include Supreme Court lawyer Þorbjörg Inga Jónsdóttir, nominated by the Icelandic Human Rights Centre; and Supreme Court lawyer Kristín Edwald, who was nominated by the Icelandic Bar Association. These seats are appointed for a term of four years.

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