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The project aims to internalise human rights-based thinking (and policing) across the whole police force to make it Austria’s largest human rights organisation. To do this, it will set up clear organisational structures and responsibilities as well as support positive measures regarding policing and human rights, to ensure respect for the fundamental rights of everyone.


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Implementing the practice: step by step

The project was initiated after a decree from the Federal Ministry of the Interior.

In 2008, the former Minister of the Interior established the PMMR project group which devised recommendations and action plans in line with the aim of making the police ‘the largest human rights organisation in society’.

The main principle was that all police work should respect human rights. The project was divided into three phases. 

Phase 1: 2008 – 2011:

  1. Drafting of the code of conduct - 24 basic guidelines;
  2. Carrying out basic human rights training;
  3. Devising a trainer manual for the human rights trainer;
  4. Recruiting staff;
  5. 'Role model’ and educational training for staff (SAFE with EDUCATION);
  6. Developing a competency framework for the project;
  7. Book project – ‘Police officers explain’;
  8. Human rights training for the mission trainer;
  9. Introducing compulsory human rights training as part of further vocational training;
  10. Implementing human rights measures across the police services. This included appointing a human rights and diversity advisor to County Police Departments, a Human Rights and Mission Trainer, and educational staff.

Phase 2:  2012-2015:

  1. Introducing the mediation programme;
  2. Training in dealing with complaints and mistakes;
  3. Mentoring for young colleagues – ‘Welcome to the team’;
  4. Public relations drive and evaluating the project’s effectiveness – both internally and externally;
  5. Communicating policing;
  6. Work environment training – the behaviour of colleagues in the work place.

Phase 3: 2016 - ongoing:

  • The project has been scaled up to cover the whole of the Austrian police force. This should serve to embed the practice and its associated philosophies throughout the force.
  • In each of the nine County Police Departments, the position of ‘Human Rights Adviser’ has been created within senior management. This person is responsible for embedding the PMMR approach, implementing its activities at a regional level, and acting as a driver for staff buy-in of the project;
  • They will also seek to strengthen cooperation with local civil society organisations through regional dialogue forums and by gathering together groups of practitioners. Alongside other local initiatives, these are intended to increase trust in the police.

Evaluation of the practice

Impact assessments are being conducted by the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Bundesministerium für Inneres.

Around 40 different government organisations and NGOs were consulted as part of the evaluation. These include:

  • Amnesty International Austria - Amnesty International Österreich
  • Caritas Austria - Caritas Österreich
  • Islamic Community of Austria - Islamische Glaubensgemeinschaft
  • The Chamber of Commerce (Vienna) - Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien
  • The Cultural Society for Roma in Austria - Kulturverein österreichischer Roma
  • Austrian Commission for Human Rights - Österreichische Liga für Menschenrechte
  • Think Difference (NGO)
  • UNHCR Austria Office - UNHCR-Büro Österreich
  • NGO - Community of Black Women – Verein „Schwarze Frauen Community“

Indicators were used for the assessments, with different evaluation parameters for each theme.

Staff and members of the public completed a feedback survey which asked them to give their views on the project’s effectiveness. Over two-thirds of respondents said that Austrian police are successfully respecting human rights. Most of the staff surveyed also had a positive view of the project.

During the project development, the specific objective of improving reporting in the context of hate crime was not explicitly outlined. Therefore, no measurement or evaluation of this has so far taken place.

Critical success factors

Critical success factors are still being determined. 

Elements transferable to other EU Member States

The whole project can be implemented in other EU Member States. 

Key Facts

Start date: 2008.
End date: Ongoing.
Scope of the practice: National.
Target group: Police officers and civil society. 
Beneficiaries: All people who stay in Austria and come into contact with the police.
Key objectives: To integrate human rights based thinking and internalise human rights approaches into decision making across the whole police force, thereby making the police ‘the largest human rights organisation in society’; To set clear organisational structures and responsibilities, and to support positive initiatives that integrate human rights approaches into police work. This will help to make fundamental rights possible for everyone; To provide transparency for decisions related to staff and civil society.

Legal basis of the practice

  • This practice is not based on a specific hate crime legal framework. 

Designing bodies and partners consulted

  • Designing body: Federal Ministry of the Interior - Bundesministerium für Inneres.
  • Partners consulted: different external human rights consultants. 

Implementing Bodies

  • Federal Ministry of the Interior - Bundesministerium für Inneres.

Further information

None provided.

Contacts

Federal Ministry of the Interior
BMI, Referat II/1/a, Unit for Structural and Human Resources Development
Email: polizei (dot) macht (dot) menschen (dot) rechte (at) bmi (dot) gv (dot) at