Good knowledge of police powers and rights and obligations is - in addition to treating members of the public with respect and courtesy - the cornerstone of professional and correct policing. It is important that those who are involved in police procedures are also aware of police officers’ duties. Awareness of officers’ duties not only helps citizens exercise their rights if they believe an officer has failed to perform their tasks in a lawful and professional manner, but it also helps them to be more cooperative in police proceedings. If citizens better understand our mission, police proceedings can take place without unnecessary misunderstandings.

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In order to improve the level of training of police officers, the police have established a system of training in the use of police powers, including practical procedures and self-defence. Police officers undergo regular training under the guidance of instructors to upgrade and improve their knowledge and skills.

We raise awareness of the importance of protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms

There is a monitoring mechanism in place to ensure proper use of police powers and to record threats against police officers. It is our continued effort to improve the situation in this field, which is why we are involved in the drafting of legislation and implementing regulations and rules relevant to the police profession. We are improving the level of police officer training and raise their awareness of the importance of the effective protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. We have established a modern system for resolving police complaints that takes into account the European principles of democratic scrutiny of the police.

The police cooperate with the Human Rights Ombudsman and other mechanisms of civilian scrutiny of the police. All of these have found that there are no systemic or major violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms in police procedures in Slovenia.

Despite a very large number of cases involving the use of police powers, the number of cases in which courts, appellate panels and other supervisory mechanisms have confirmed the misuse of police powers is very small and comparable with European countries with the highest rule-of-law levels.

What are police powers?

Police powers, including the use of means of coercion, are governed by law and enable effective and successful performance of police tasks. Carrying out a police power constitutes an interference with a human right. Therefore powers may only be used under conditions determined by law and in a manner defined by law. In performing their tasks, police officers have the duty to act in accordance with the constitution and laws and to respect and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. The police are also led by the principles of respect for human personality and dignity, equal treatment, lawfulness, proportionality, professionalism, and integrity.

What police powers do we know?

The police powers most frequently applied on a daily basis are collection of information, data processing, issuing warnings, establishing identity and searching for persons (e.g. if they are missing), giving orders, carrying out protective searches, seizing items, temporary restriction of movement, detention and arrest of persons, setting roadblocks, issuing restraining orders for persons, security vetting, etc.

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Only police officers who take care of their own safety can successfully and effectively protect the lives, personal safety and property of others. For this reason, we monitor cases involving threats to police officers, participate in the drafting of criminal law legislation concerning assaults on police officers, and provide police officers with state-of-the-art protection and other equipment and means (for example ballistic protective garments, cameras for recording police procedures and means of coercion that are a lesser threat to human lives).

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