Reducing risky police practices: Building a baseline to measure impact

Monday, May 31, 2021

The APT and partner organisations from Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand recently met online to kick off the development of a baseline study. The study will underpin our joint project to reduce risky police practices in the three countries.

The project, which will run over three and a half years, is being implemented by the APT in collaboration with Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines and the Cross-Cultural Foundation, based in Thailand.

Funded by the European Union, the project aims to prevent torture and ill-treatment in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand by building new synergies against forced confessions and incommunicado detention.

The baseline study will provide a consistent, reliable and measurable benchmark against which we can evaluate the impact of our joint activities over the course of the project.

It will also inform the content and approach of national and regional activities that respond to the challenges identified in the three countries.

Shazerra Zawawi, APT Senior Adviser Research and Innovation, said the online discussions with project partners were a valuable opportunity to build common understanding around key issues and terms, such as ‘first hours of custody’, ‘police detention’,  ‘investigation’ and ‘interrogation’.

“Through the discussions, we were also able to agree on a consistent framework to guide our research questions and our methods for gathering and analysing data,” Ms Zawawi said.

“The baseline study will ensure we have a concrete and rigorous foundation that will allow us to identify effective approaches to prevent torture and ill-treatment in police custody.”

The online discussions also allowed partners to learn from each other’s experiences and strengths.

“These opportunities for exchange, collaboration and encouragement are so important for civil society organisations in the region, and even more so during COVID-19,” Ms Zawawi said.

“They are also vital as we collaborate, discover synergies and build national and regional actions to prevent torture.”

The baseline study will be developed between June and October 2021.

The project on Reducing Risky Practices Leading to Torture and Ill-Treatment in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand is funded by the European Union.