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Police Reform within the Framework of Criminal Justice System Reform


This Guidebook identifies the interfaces in the criminal justice process among the various institutions of the CJS and between them and other relevant governmental agencies as well as non-governmental security and justice providers and civil society. It elaborates on a number of good practices in addressing these interfaces in practical reform steps and identifies options for enhancing international co-operation in following a holistic CJS reform (CJSR) approach.


During the last decade, it has been widely acknowledged among criminal justice practitioners, policy makers and academics that reforms in one sector of the Criminal Justice System (CJS) have to be complemented and synchronized with reforms in the other sectors in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the entire criminal justice process, increase access to security and justice for the population, and render sustainable the reform achievements in the CJS.

With the adoption of the OSCE Strategic Framework for Police-Related Activities in 2012, the OSCE participating States reaffirmed their acknowledgement of the importance of supporting and complementing police reforms with the efforts undertaken in other sectors of the criminal justice system and tasked the OSCE to develop guidance in this respect.

This new Guidebook is to bridge a crucial gap between existing Security Sector Reform (SSR) and CJSR guidance documents. In particular, it addresses the connecting points between the relevant actors of the criminal justice process and provides some concrete examples of practical measures on how to improve collaboration between the various actors.

Chapter II of this Guidebook clarifies and defines a number of relevant terms and assumptions with regard to CJSR, briefly elaborating on the basic elements and principles of CJSR.

Chapter III elaborates on the essential elements of holistic baseline assessments of the CJS, addressing the following: CJS legislation; policies and regulations; organizational structures; training and professional development structures; and accountability and oversight structures. There will be a specific focus on the interfaces between the police and the other sectors of the CJS.

Chapter IV focuses on the development of strategies and action plans for the comprehensive and holistic reform of the police within the framework of CJSR, identifying objectives, roles and responsibilities of the international and national stakeholders of the reform process.

Chapter V explores the fundamental legal framework of the CJS that is needed for ensuring compliance of the law with international human rights norms and standards and for facilitating effective and efficient co-operation between all sectors of the CJS and other relevant actors in the criminal justice process, such as governmental agencies, non-state security and justice providers, and civil society.

Chapter VI describes ways to translate legal criminal justice provisions into policies and regulations in order to facilitate better co-operation between all relevant actors with a view to improving access to security and justice, and enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of the criminal justice process in line with human rights norms and standards.

Chapter VII provides an overview of practical examples of organizational and structural changes that are required to support the implementation of the policies and regulations. A focus will be placed on some key areas and mechanisms of collaboration among the CJS institutions and between the CJS and the non-state and civil society actors that are relevant for improving access to security and justice and the effectiveness and efficiency of the criminal justice process.

This overview also covers the field of joint training and professional development initiatives that enhance the operational effectiveness and efficiency of the CJS and other relevant actors in the criminal justice process.

Chapter VIII briefly deals with the evaluation and review of CJSR.

In all of the above chapters, the basic foundation and principles of the rule of law and democratic CJS, including human rights, gender mainstreaming, accountability and oversight issues, are continuously addressed where appropriate.

Finally, chapter IX elaborates on the key elements of an integrated CJSR approach among different international actors, while chapter X briefly describes the requirements of an integrated approach within the CJS assistance organizations.