Last week in Valencia, antiriot police attacked a group of high chool students who were protesting against the public funding cuts on education that has left many high schools in their city without heating. There are videos of the desproportionate police attack all over Youtube. But it is difficult to denounce the policeman that committed these acts of brutality because they do not wear an identification number.
Citizens should be able to identify police officers. This allows citizens to be able to complain against police abuse when it happens.
Unfortunately, that is not always the case in Spain. Antiriot police in particular are breaking the law by not wearing their identification number on a visible place, or using tricks such as hiding their numbers with tape.
There are several pictures from cities all over Spain that document what has already become a common practice. Despite the numerous complaints by citizens during the past year, the Spanish Ministry of Interior is not taking any measures to end this illegal practice.
And that is why I want to appeal to the Council of Europe, the highest body for the defense of human rights of European citizens, to call on the Spanish Government to immediately stop this practice. We need your voice in order to defend the security of citizens and prevent police abuse all over Europe.
Instruction 13/2007 from the Spanish Ministry of Interior clearly states that “All members of the Guardia Civil and National Police wearing uniform and / or working equipment, including those special units that currently do not carry an identification number (…) must wear over their uniforms their personal identification number corresponding to their Professional Card and Professional identification Card, in a visible position and in a manner that can be read without difficulty by citizens within the so-called respect distance (aproximately one meter and 20 cm)”
This obligation is part of the right of citizens to be able to identify in any given moment, and without asking for it, any member of the security forces on duty.
Join me in asking the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe, Mr. Thomas Hammarberg, to demand the Spanish government to immediately end this practice.