Impunity and the oversight of police and prisons

APCOF, in collaboration with the Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative conducted research on law enforcement impunity in South Africa. The project researched reasons for low prosecution rates of law enforcement officials (in policing and correctional services environment) implicated in human rights violations.

EAC Police Common Standards and Human Rights Training

APCOF, in collaboration with the East African Community (EAC) and the East African Police Commissioners Cooperation Committee (EAPCCO) developed a training manual for police officers in the EAC. The training manual focuses focus key aspects of police work and compliance with the EAC’s Common Standards on Policing.

The training manual continues a collaboration between APCOF and the EAC dating back to 2007 when APCOF and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), worked with the EAC and EAPCCO to  develop common standards for police in the region, which was followed by the development of model Standard Operating Procedures for Arrest and detention, Stop and search, Use of Force and Public Order Management.

Investigator Training

APCOF developed a course in basic investigation skills for the police oversight practitioners and trained staff from institutions across 6 countries:

  • Kenya’s National Human Rights Commission and Independent Policing Oversight Authority.
  • South Africa’s Independent Police Investigative Directorate and the South African Human Rights Commission.
  • Nigeria’s Police Service Commission, Ministry of Police Affairs, and National Human Rights Commission.
  • Ghana’s Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice.
  • Uganda’s Human Rights Commission.
  • Tanzania’s Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance.

This training is available on request and is focused on imparting both knowledge and skills, taught in a 5-day residential format. The training is designed to be experiential in nature, offering participants the opportunity to practice learned skills through role-plays and case studies. The training manual includes a trainer’s manual as well as a resource pack consisting of relevant policy documents as well as a CD with selected literature on the subject.

The training covers:

  • Introduction to Oversight;
  • The powers of Oversight Bodies;
  • Stakeholder management;
  • Basic elements of an investigation;
  • Conducting the investigation;
  • Physical evidence and crime scene management;
  • Verbal evidence: dealing with witnesses, victims and suspects
  • Interviewing skills;
  • Police officers as the subject of investigation;
  • Investigating torture and death in custody;
  • Investigating sexual offences;
  • Writing a report;
  • Ethical and political dimensions of investigations
Promoting the SARPCCO Code of Conduct

In promoting the implementation of the Southern African Police Commissioners Cooperation Committee (SARPCCO) Code of Conduct, APCOF develop a comprehensive set of measures and indicators for each article of the Code. The indicators were then tested in an assessment of performance by each of the SARPCCO’s members against the code of Conduct.

The Article 5 Initiative

The Article 5 Initiative was a partnership between the University of Cape Town (Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit), the University of the Western Cape (Dullah Omar Institute), the University of Bristol (Human Rights Implementation Centre) and APCOF. The A5I worked in Burundi, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa and Uganda to promote domestic compliance with international law obligations, norms and procedures under the United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT) and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR). The A5I developed Domestication and Implementation Packages (DIPs), comprised of practical guidelines to prevent and eradicating torture and other ill treatment in Africa through implementation of the UNCAT.

Stabilisation Dialogues

APCOF collaborated with the Igarapé Institute (Brazil), Fundación Ideas Para la Paz (Colombia), Instituto para la Seguridad y la Democracia (INSYDE, based in Mexico) to conceptualise a south-south series of dialogues on communities and safety. Dialogues took place in in Rio de Janeiro (March 2014) and Mexico City (November 2014).  Cape Town (February 2015) and Bogotá (April 2015).  Commissioned papers were presented at each discussion and published in Stability: International Journal of Security and Development.

Supporting the Operationalization of the Sierra Leone Independent Police Complaints Board

APCOF supported the operationalization of the Sierra Leone Independent Police Complaints Board (IPCB) specifically through:

  • An audit of police complaints in Sierra Leone over the past two years to assess both trends but also identify and develop recommendations on areas where complaints management can be improved and streamlined.
  • Development of internal standard operating procedures for investigations, complaints handling and research including;
  • Roles and responsibilities of the Police and IPCB including procedures for reporting securing and acquiring evidence identification parades etc.
  • Role of the IPCB and that of the Sierra Leone Police Complaints, Discipline and Internal Investigations Department (CDIID) including the division of responsibility between external review and the police’s own internal review systems and procedures for communication and referral.
  • Procedures supporting relations between the IPCB and Civil Society and Police.
  • Procedures for public and non-police bodies in the referral of complaints.
  • Managing the complaint review system including screening complaints and procedures on complaints handing.
  • A credible but robust set of indicators and measures to be used to assess the performance across IPCB mandate.
  • An internal and external communication strategy disaggregated to key audiences including the police, civil society, and parliament.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding between the IPCB and the Sierra Leone Police Force and the IPCB and the Human Rights Commission and Ombudsman of Sierra Leone.
  • A set of leaflets and brochures in electronic copy on About the IPCB, How to Lodge a Complaint and Police accountability for printing and dissemination.
  • A work Study which would assist the IPCB with identifying staffing resource needs.
  • Board procedures and a staff manual.
  • A multi-agency training manual on the role and function of the IPCB.
  • A website for the IPCB.
  • Input for the IPCB for submission on the Constitutional Review.
  • Input into a progress report on the IPCB to Parliament.
Developing operational Guidance Notes for the AU SSR Framework

APCOF collaborated with the African Security Sector Network in the development of Operational Guidance Notes to promote implementation of the African Union’s Security Sector Reform Framework. Specifically, APCOF worked on the Guidance Note for developing and implementing codes of conduct for African security sector institutions.

Technical Support to the ACHPR in the development and Drafting of the the Guidelines on Arrest, Conditions of Police Custody and Pre Trial Detention in Africa, The Luanda Guidelines.

During its 55th Ordinary Session in Luanda, Angola, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission) adopted the Guidelines on the Conditions of Arrest, Police Custody and Pre-Trial Detention in Africa (the Luanda Guidelines). APCOF led the provision of technical assistance to Commissioner Med S.K. Kaggwa, Special Rapportuer on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Policing in Africa (Special Rapporteur) in the drafting and consultation of the Guidelines.