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News > Press Releases 2014 > Person detained in a police cell in degrading conditions

Person detained in a police cell in degrading conditions

18. 08. 2014

The Defender was approached by a complainant requesting that I investigate the circumstances of his stay in a police cell at the Břeclav District Police Department. Her investigation of the complaint covered the conditions of the stay as well as the manner in which the Regional Directorate of the Police of the South Moravian Region handled the complaint of the person detained in the cell.

After being detained by the Police of the Czech Republic, the complainant was transported for medical examination during which his underwear was damaged and the Police failed to offer him substitute clothes after placing him in the cell (although such clothes are available for this purpose), with the explanation that persons detained in a cell should explicitly request this. At night there was a problem with access to the toilet – it took 10 to 15 minutes before a second police officer appeared at the department to open, together with the guarding officer, the grate which separated the cell from the toilet. This was explained by security reasons, where police officers are only allowed to enter the cell with the detained person in a pair. It was also found during the investigation that the Police of the Czech Republic was unable to demonstrate that the complainant had been duly advised before being detained in the cell and whether a written copy of the advice had been provided to him in the cell, despite the fact that the standard procedure allows demonstrable performance of these mandatory acts. The prescribed documentation was kept in two different versions. It was impossible to determine when and whether the complainant had been provided with food and on one day the detained person had neither received, nor been offered, lunch.

The Defender found maladministration in the procedure of the Police of the Czech Republic in that it had breached its internal rules (binding instruction of the Police President No. 159/2009, on escorts, guarding of persons and on police cells) and Act No. 273/2008 Coll., on the Police of the Czech Republic, as amended. The Defender found the denial of immediate access to water and toilet to be a fundamental issue and turned directly to the Police President in this matter, requesting that he amend the binding instruction. It was recommended that the Regional Director of the Police of the South Moravian Region reinforce the guarding staff or that the grate separating the toilet from the rest of the cell be open when only one police officer is present at the relevant department of the Police of the Czech Republic or that the grate open remotely.

After the final statement was issued, the director of the Regional Directorate of the Police initiated a personal meeting where he promised remedy in all the required points, which he subsequently confirmed by his written statement on a change in the practice.
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