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Authority of police expanded in Latvia

Photo: Valsts policija
Latvian Saeima approved in the third reading amendments the Law on Police. The approved amendments expand the authority of police officers, as confirmed by Saeima’s press-service.

Law amendments approved on Thursday, 14 March, delegate to police officers the right to deliver persons who, due to intoxication from alcohol, narcotic, psychotropic or toxic substance, are unable to move on their own or present a threat to others to rehab institutions, healthcare institutions or the persons’ home.

Until now the Law on Police stated that police officers have the right to deliver such persons to healthcare institution or the persons’ home. If neither is possible – police are to deliver those persons to the police department, where they will be held until they recover, but for no longer than 12 hours. In practice, however, police departments are not equipped with special rooms, whereas keeping such people in cells could be interpreted as torture or inhumane treatment of people, as mentioned in the annotation to the legislative draft.

The legislative draft also clarifies the rights for police officers to detain persons who are found in their home in a state of intoxication from alcohol, narcotic or psychotropic substances and could potentially hurt themselves or other people, or if their relatives are afraid of staying alone with them. Detainment of such persons will not exceed 12 hours. The annotation mentions – changes are needed to prevent domestic violence and threats to a person’s health, freedom or life.

Changes to the law also provide police officers the right to use social media, municipal internet websites, and accounts of state and municipal institutions in social media. This will be allowed to perform pre-emptive crime prevention measures, determine details of criminal violations, as well as to search for criminals and missing persons.


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