Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Takes Stand in Connection with Measures Taken by Tamási Police Department

In response to the challenges of the health crisis, the management of the Tamási Police Department satisfied the requirements aimed at the protection of both the detainees and the staff in the facilities affected by the execution of police apprehension, and adequately ensured the conditions that guarantee the enforcement of the detainees’ rights even under the circumstances of the health crisis, concluded Commissioner for Fundamental Rights Dr. Ákos Kozma.

On 25 September 2020, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights acting in his competence as OPCAT National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) and several staff members paid a visit to the Tamási Police Department (hereinafter: “the Facility”). In consideration of the epidemiological stand-by period declared by Gov. Decree no. 238/2020 (VI.17.), the NPM announced its visit in advance. The aim of the visit was to inspect the implementation of the measures taken with a view to preventing the coronavirus pandemic and to averting its consequences, as well as to examine how the restrictions ordered due to the state of danger affected the rights of police detainees. The members of the visiting group inspected the custody unit and the official rooms of the Facility, and made interviews with the staff members.

In his report written about Case No. AJB-6421/2020, Dr. Ákos Kozma found that the client orientation and entry system, i.e. the taking of temperature and hand sanitation, supplying those arriving with disposable gloves and masks, as well as the management’s actions taken in order to protect the health of the staff were in compliance with the specifications of the rules of procedure on the health conservation and public health police tasks, a professional guideline issued by the National Police Headquarters for the management of the police. There were no detainees in the Facility at the time of the visit. Following the declaration of the state of danger, no persons showing symptoms of coronavirus infection were transported to the Facility as a result of police actions.

The NPM concluded that in response to the challenges of the health crisis, the management of the Tamási Police Department satisfied the requirements aimed at the protection of both the detainees and the staff in the facilities affected by the execution of police apprehension, and adequately ensured the conditions that guaranteed the enforcement of the detainees’ rights even under the circumstances of the health crisis. While enforcing measures and taking police procedural actions, personal contact is unavoidable for police officers. Masks, gloves, sanitizing material and protective gear were available for the staff of the Facility ensuring the safe execution of police tasks, and the necessary equipment were used by the staff in accordance with the specifications of the health protection protocols. The special sanitary conditions regarding the safe transportation of arrestees were ensured by the Facility when using the official vehicles, and both the police officers and the arrestees were provided with the equipment necessary for sanitary protection. The staff of the Facility has been able to ensure the enforcement of the detainees’ right to contacts even during the coronavirus pandemic.

Although the National Preventive Mechanism did not find any improprieties in connection with the sanitary conditions and amenities of the rooms used by the arrestees, he did point out certain anomalies due to the inadequacy of the bench placed in the custody unit, as well as a circumstance implying an impropriety related to a fundamental right of the arrestees in connection with their medical examination. Furthermore, he also objected to certain aspects of the administration of measures restricting personal liberty.

For the report, please click on the following link: AJB-6421/2020.