Shadowy World of Special Police in the Spotlight


The shadowy and unaccountable area of `special’ police units came under scrutiny at the Celtic League AGM in Karaez Brittany at the weekend.

The League has previously raised the matter with the Council of Europe Directorate of Human Rights (CoE/DGHR) calling for regulation of units (such as Special Branch in the United Kingdom) who fall outside the orbit of proper regulation and independent scrutiny, and are in effect a law to themselves.

It was noted that since the issue was previously raised many years ago with both the CoE/DGHR and the CPT several scandals had occurred (particularly in the UK) which showed that these `special’ police units sometimes operated on the margins of the law. However it was also stressed that in relation to both Ireland and Brittany specialised police services were subject to little public scrutiny.

It was agreed that the issue would be revisited via the Council of Europe and other International Rights bodies. The text of a resolution to this effect agreed by the meeting is set out below:

“This AGM

a) Recalling the recent controversy surrounding the policing of the London G20 conference and also the controversy surrounding the use of police agent provocateur infiltration of UK environmental groups,

b) Mindful of the adoption by the Council of Europe of – Recommendation 2001 (10) – and correspondence between the League and the (COE) Secretary General of the Directorate General of Human Rights in 2004,

Calls on the Council of Europe and its relevant human rights bodies to take steps to regulate and make publicly accountable `Special Police’ units with particular reference to nations under current control of member states of Council of Europe, to wit Ireland, Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Brittany and the Basque regions of Spain and France.”

See related link Celtic News 2004


J B Moffatt (Mr)
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