Should human rights be at the heart of policing?

I read with amusement today that Sir Hugh Orde, who is to take over as the new ACPO  chief ,wants to out human rights at the heart of policing in the UK. So far so good and if you read the piece he certainly makes all the right noises. However this is the same Hugh Orde who went against the advice of the policing board and the PSNI's human rights advisor to introduce tasers without holding an equality impact assessment.

Well Sir Hugh, you have to walk the walk as well as talking the talk. It has never been more important to put human rights at the heart of policing,  the recent police tactics which I have blogged about before, have called into question who is making the decision to adopt an Orwellian policing style. Is it a political decision being directed by a series of reactionary home secretaries or are the police taking it on themselves.  The story of the two women arrested at Kingnorth at a Climate Camp demo for having the audacity to ask a policeman to uncover his concealed badge number is beginning to suggest the latter. And if so… how is this so different to the Iranian revolutionary guard in principle?

So the answer to the rhetorical question posed in the title is a big resounding YES, but lets hope that Sir Hugh puts his money where his mouth is and this really has been a conversion on the road to Damascus. It's easy to speak the language of rights but we want to see some action.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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