Complaints about cops?
Written by: Halka Jaklová
Photo by: René Jakl
Many people don’t know it, but if you think you’ve encountered inappropriate or even illegal police behavior, you have the right to submit a complaint.
According to legal regulations, all departments of the Czech Republic Police (i.e., district, municipal, and ward directorates, regional administrations, and the police presidium) are obligated to accept such submissions. But a complaint is handled only by the director of the department in charge of the policeman against whom the complaint was submitted. So if the department that accepts the submission does not have material jurisdiction over the complaint, it must delegate it to the department with jurisdiction within five days. It will concurrently so inform you. In the interest of timely disposition, it’s good to first turn to the relevant director.
Complaints can be submitted either orally for reports or in writing. The complaint must be formulated as specifically as possible, and should contain all known information on the policeman or department against which it is directed (the name or service number from the uniform, the state license plate number of the car, etc). It is also important to state an exact description of the location and time when the event leading to the complaint occurred, as well as possible witnesses and other details that best and most precisely describe the situation. The law stipulates several deadlines. For complaints not delivered in person or submitted orally and that cannot be settled within ten days of their delivery, you must get written confirmation of receipt within five days following the day of delivery. This confirms that the submission was not lost and that someone is handling it.
Complaints must be handled by within 30 days following delivery. This deadline can be exceeded only exceptionally, and you must be informed in writing of the reasons for the delay. Delegating complaints to workplaces and employees (against whom they have been lodged) for resolution is not permitted. You also have the right, upon your request, for a copy of the complaint to be delegated without disclosure of your name. When measures are taken for rectification following investigation, or if a complaint has been judged unjustified, you must be so informed. If you’re dissatisfied with the result you can resubmit the complaint, in which case the supervisory body handles it. But if you don’t state new facts, your repeated complaint can be set aside without further processing, and there is no obligation to inform you.