SARPCCO Code of conduct for the police
The APT supported one of the earliest efforts by a regional police organization in Africa to develop a unified Code of Conduct for police forces. Following the publication of a study, named Professional codes of ethics for the police, a means to prevent torture. Elements for an African police Charter, the APT was invited by the Southern Africa Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) to work together to draft the Code of Conduct and Ethics for Southern African police forces.
The SARPCCO Code of Conduct is derived from a range of international and regional human rights instruments that are supplemented by specific guidelines on police. The Code is a set of minimum professional standards for police forces and services but it is also an expression of police commitment to adhere to these standards.
The SARPCCO Police Chiefs adopted the Code, in Mauritius, during their Annual Meeting, in 2001. In this way, each member country undertook to implement the Code nationally.
Since then, both APT and SARPCCO have invested efforts in training and popularising the Code at regional and national level. The APT has for exampel conducted several training workshops in Botswana and Mauritius to sensitize police offers to the use of the Code. In both countries, the Code was published, in the format of a pocket size booklet, together with the respective Police Statements of Values. The booklet serves as an aide-mémoire that each police officer should carry and make reference to in his or her day-to-day work.
However, it seems that efforts to assess, track and hold police accountable to respect the Code have not been as robust. That is why, ten years from the adoption of the Code, the African Policing Civilian Oversights Forum (APCOF) has decided to undertake a general assessment of the implementation of the Code.