Law enforcement officials are obliged to respect personal dignity while exercising their duties, warned Ombudswoman Lora Vidović after the complaint on the circumstances of a family eviction.

In her letter to the Police administration she claimed that while exercising the duties with the use of physical force resulting in deprivation of liberty, it is necessary to pay an utmost attention to the personal dignity of a person under the treatment, bearing in mind that any mistreatment may lead to the violation of the constitutional rights of citizens. This especially refers to the vulnerable groups – children, evidently pregnant women, persons with disability or a psychological disorder, elderly or powerless.

It is also necessary that the policemen present their official permits upon request to the persons in question which, in the concrete situation, was done merely after persistent requests on behalf of the citizen.

Hence, on the eviction day the external temperature was 39,4 °C, and the arrested activists were held in the police vehicle without access to potable water. However, the purpose of the transportation vehicle is to transfer, not to hold persons deprived of liberty. It was necessary to transfer them without a delay to the appropriate premises, warned the Ombudswoman, deeming as highly unacceptable leaving them without an access to potable water.

The Police administration accepted the Ombudswoman’s claims and disseminated the instructions on obligatory procedures to all police units.

Ombudswoman’s recommendations and warnings in this case goes in line with the Police Procedures and Powers Act and relevant regulations as well as with the practice of the European Court of Human Rights (Bouyid v. Belgium, 2015.).