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Last Revised:
 22 September, 1999

Use and Application of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, Including the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms

Welcome to the web site for the study on the use and application of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, including the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms. An introduction to this study is provided below, as are links to documents presented to the fifth session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and the full text of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials from the complete Compendium of United Nations Standards and Norms in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Moreover, links are provided to country reports (which display the information obtained in a country-by-country format), the survey instrument, and data. Note that files may be downloaded in various formats, including the Portable Document Format (*.pdf) from Adobe Systems. Please click here to download the Adobe Acrobat viewer.

Introduction

This study has been administered by the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division, United Nations Office at Vienna, pursuant to Economic and Social Council resolution 1993/34, adopted on the recommendation of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. It is a process of information-gathering concerning the use and application of United Nations norms and standards by Member States.

The proper functioning of law enforcement services is essential not only for an effective criminal justice policy but also for the protection of the fundamental human rights of individuals. The United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials was adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 34/169 of 17 December 1979. The resolution in which the Code was adopted states that the functions of law enforcement in the defense of public order, and the manner in which those functions were exercised, had a direct impact on the quality of life for individuals, as well as for society as a whole. While the Assembly stressed the important task that law enforcement officials were performing, it also noted the potential for abuse that the discharge of their duties entailed. The Guidelines for the Effective Implementation of the Code aim at the further promotion of the use and application of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials. The Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, and welcomed by the General Assembly in its resolution 45/166 of 18 December 1990, were formulated in order to provide more detailed rules on the use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials.

The study questionnaire has been distributed to all Governments of Member States of the United Nations and to interested intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. Its main purpose has been to gather information on the use and application of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, including the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms in Member States, and to promote technical assistance.

Relevant United Nations Documentation

Documents on the use and application of standards and norms regarding law enforcement officials have been prepared for the fifth session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice; please click on the links below to view documents.

  • Report of the Secretary General on United Nations standards and norms in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice (E/CN.15/1996/16): pdf versions in English, French and Spanish .
  • Addendum to the report of the Secretary-General: use and application of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, together with the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (E/CN.15/1996/16/Add.2): pdf versions in English and Spanish.

Furthermore, the complete Compendium of United Nations Standards and Norms in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice is currently available online; contained within is the full text of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials.

Country Reports

The information obtained through the survey process from responding Member States has been compiled into reports by country, each roughly ten printed pages in length. It may be helpful to download the glossary of terms used as used in the questionnaire and subsequent country reports.

Survey Instrument

A copy of the survey instrument (questionnaire) itself, as distributed to Member States, is available for downloading through the link below:

  • Questionnaire on the Use and Application of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, including the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials

Data

Responses to the questionnaire have been maintained in a database. The file entitled ccl20.zip contains the data obtained, in the form of a Microsoft Access 2.0 file; the file entitled ccl95.zip contains the data obtained in the form of a Microsoft Access for Windows95 file. It may be most helpful to keep a copy of the survey instrument (above) close at hand when using the data set, as fields have been numbered according to corresponding question numbers.

To obtain a hard copy of any of the documents listed, please contact Emil Wandzilak, Documentation Officer, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Division, United Nations Office at Vienna, PO Box 500, Vienna International Centre, A-1400 Vienna, AUSTRIA.

This page last updated on 30 July 1997.

© 1997 United Nations