What We do

Police Reform


CHRI's police reforms programme aims to realise increased demand for rights-based police reform and the strengthening of police accountability in the Commonwealth. In the regions of South Asia and East Africa where we work, policing is often characterised by brutality, torture, partiality, illegal arrest and detention, corruption and abuse of due process. Illegitimate political interference in police operations has a direct impact on policing. Meanwhile, police officers and organisations are unsupported, under-resourced and work in extremely challenging circumstances.  CHRI work with the police, governments, independent institutions, and civil society actors to improve policing, advocating for human-rights based, accountable police practices. 

Taking advantage of being a pan-Commonwealth organisation, we strive to promote cross-sharing and exchange of technical advice and knowledge of comparative best practice in police reform and accountability from across the Commonwealth.

The programme has a focus on long-term structural change to policing and particularly police accountability systems to improve accountability, transparency, and performance. We work to ensure that policing laws, structures, and practices conform to internationally recognised human rights standards, domestic constitutional and legal frameworks, and international best practice. For us, the crux of police reform is strong and responsive police accountability.  In line with democratic checks and balances, we believe that accountability is needed at multiple levels, and from multiple sources. In particular, we advocate for the establishment of independent bodies to oversee the police, and investigate complaints of police misconduct.

We do this by providing technical expertise and knowledge of policing and reform issues. We do this through a combination of research-based advocacy with governments, police departments and policy makers, legislative and policy analysis, monitoring of accountability bodies, public education, campaigning, civil society networking and working in partnership, and strategic litigation. We share our knowledge and analysis locally, regionally and internationally, in the form of publications, policy recommendations and submissions, critiques of laws, briefing papers, and public education material.