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Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials

NCJ Number
Date Published
5 pages
A code of conduct for law enforcement officials, stating that those who exercise police powers shall respect and protect human dignity and uphold human rights of all persons, was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1979.
Governments are urged to consider using the code in the framework of national legislation and practice. The articles of the code recommend that officials serve the community and protect all persons against illegal acts in a manner consistent with the high degree of responsibility required by the profession. They state that force should be used only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of duty, and that no official may inflict or tolerate any act of torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. Additional articles call for the maintenance of confidentiality, the avoidance and prevention of acts of corruption, and the humane treatment of persons in custody. Commentary on each of the eight articles provides definitions and discusses the purpose of each.