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Warsaw, 30 October 2018 OSCE/Maria Kuchma

Polish torture prevention monitors introducing their portfolios during the training event. Warsaw, 30 October 2018. (OSCE/Maria Kuchma)

University of Exeter academic and partners train Polish torture prevention monitors in monitoring and documenting use of Taser, weapons and restraints

Enhancing the independent monitoring and documenting of the use of weapons and restraints in law enforcement activities was the focus of a capacity-building event for Polish torture prevention monitors on 30 October 2018 in Warsaw. 

The event was organized by the University of Exeter, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Omega Research Foundation and supported by the Economic and Social Research Council of the United Kingdom.

Twelve monitors from the Polish National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) participated in the training event. They discussed challenges in monitoring the use of restraints and electric shock weapons, with a specific focus on Tasers, laws and regulations applicable to certain categories of weapons, and the use of force by law enforcement officials. The participants explored the related medical and human rights risks and various methods of documentation. 

Dr Abi Dymond, Lecturer in Criminology and ESRC Future Research Leader at the University of Exeter, said: “It is crucial that torture prevention bodies are able to effectively document the presence, use and misuse of weapons and restraints, including those weapons sometimes referred to as 'less lethal’. This can help to ensure accountability and prevent future misuse and abuse of such weapons.  I’m delighted to be co-organising this timely event on this topic, which builds on the Practical Guide to Monitoring Weapons and Restraints in Places of Detention launched earlier this year, thanks to part-funding by the Economic and Social Research Council's Celebrating Impact Award.'

“This training is part of ODIHR’s continuous work on preventing torture and strengthening the independent monitoring of places of detention in the OSCE region,” said Stephanie Selg, ODIHR Adviser on Torture Prevention. “We hope that we will be able to continue to train monitors not only in Poland but across the region.”

PrzemysÅ‚aw Kazimirski, Head of the National Preventive Mechanism of Poland, said: “Monitoring weapons and other equipment used by law enforcement officials with a view to issuing recommendations on how to better prevent torture or other ill-treatment is a crucial part of our mandate. Until very recently there was little guidance for monitors, and this training provided an excellent opportunity for us to learn more about available tools, as well as enhancing our monitoring skills in this area.” 

Date: 2 November 2018

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