08. 12. 2010
The Defender dealt with the procedure adopted by the Police of the Czech Republic when detaining a person in accordance with of Law No. 273/2008 Coll., on the Police of the Czech Republic, where the person was then placed in a police cell and several times restrained in the cell. The person was brought in at night to a district department of the Police of the Czech Republic by municipal police offers to identify him, as he was not carrying an identity card on him. After the person had been identified, he allegedly verbally and physically assaulted police officers. As the person was suspected of committing an offence against peaceful coexistence against the police officers present, an act which is under the competence of the municipal offences committee, he was detained and placed in a police cell. After an hour the person was released and the case was passed on to the municipal offences committee.
When investigating individual cases of a similar type the Defender draws on his experience acquired in the course of his systematic visits to detention facilities. In this specific case, which was still not concluded when this report was compiled, it was found that there had been a violation of the Police Act through failure to obtain sufficient grounds for placing the person in the police cell, the lack of adequate detention records and the unreasonable use of coercion. The head of the police department was questioned about the reasons for detaining the man and subsequently placing him in the police cell. According to § 26 Paragraph 1 b) of the Police Act the Police are authorised to detain anybody who verbally assaults a police officer in a police station and the detainee may be placed in a police cell; in this particular case, however, the Defender considers that placing the man in the cell was inexpedient, as it is the municipal offences committee which is competent to review the offence and the police took no further action with the person once he had been placed in the cell. According to the rules of the Constitutional Court, the exercising of public authority must be substantiated and expedient and the mere application of the formally presumptive authority of a public body, without any demonstrable presumptive and rational purpose behind the exercising of such authority, cannot be tolerated.