Czech Republic: Procedures to submit a complaint to the police; whether a police report can be obtained without the personal attendance of the complainant; if so, information on requirements
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Publication Date||29 February 2012|
|Citation / Document Symbol||CZE103984.E|
|Related Document||République tchèque : information sur la marche à suivre pour déposer une plainte à la police; information indiquant si un rapport de police peut être obtenu en l'absence du plaignant; le cas échéant, information sur les exigences|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Czech Republic: Procedures to submit a complaint to the police; whether a police report can be obtained without the personal attendance of the complainant; if so, information on requirements , 29 February 2012, CZE103984.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f9690f82.html [accessed 21 May 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
1. Submitting a Complaint to the Police
According to the website of the Police of the Czech Republic, "[r]eports of suspected crime can be made in writing, in person (in a protocol), electronically, or via telegraph, fax, or telex" (Czech Republic 2010). The complainant must indicate the grounds of the complaint they are filing, such as "paper or material evidence, damage caused, injuries suffered" (ibid.). A criminal complaint can be submitted to any unit of the Police of the Czech Republic, and public prosecutors are obligated to accept complaints as well (ibid.).
2. Obtaining Police Records
A person submitting a complaint can ask for a "confirmation" of the complaint; a request can also be made within one month for the police to inform the complainant of the "measures taken" (ibid.). In correspondence to the Research Directorate, a representative of the Office of the Public Defender of Rights [ombudsman] noted that, if a person reports a crime to the police, as opposed to filing a complaint, they can ask for a copy of the "protocol;" if the person submits a formal request to the police, the police will inform them within one month of the actions taken toward investigating the crime (ibid. 9 Feb. 2012).
According to the police website, a "damaged party - the person having suffered a bodily harm, a financial, material, moral or other damage, has the right to see the file, make notes and excerpts, or make copies of the entire file or its parts" (ibid. 2010). In 8 February 2012 correspondence with the Research Directorate, a lawyer with the League of Human Rights (Liga Lidskych Prav, also known as Liga) in Brno, an NGO promoting human rights (n.d.), stated that the Czech police are obligated under Criminal Procedures Act No. 141/1961 to allow a victim access to their police file and to make copies of it; however, the police are not "explicitly" obligated to send copies of the file either by post or by e-mail. The representative of the Office of the Public Defender of Rights also said that the police have to provide to the complainant a copy of a complaint submitted to the police "immediately" upon their request; if the copy is requested at a later date, the request has to be in written form and must be certified to prove that the copy is being requested by the original complainant (Czech Republic 9 Feb. 2012).
3. Authorizing Access to Police Reports by a Proxy
The information in this section was provided by the lawyer with the League of Human Rights (8 Feb. 2012). A person living in Canada can authorize another person to access and copy their police-report files. The person should provide the proxy with a signed written authorization. The proxy should also sign the authorization, and can then use it to "access the files at the police station."
There is no law that requires the signature for authorization to be verified, for example, by a notary, even though it is "better." In the lawyer's experience, "a simple authorization" signed by both the person authorizing access and the one that is authorized to access the file is sufficient for the police and use of a lawyer is "not necessary."
4. The Process to be Followed by a Canadian Lawyer
The League of Human Rights lawyer said that it might be possible for a lawyer in Canada to obtain a copy of a police report from the Czech Republic, and recommended the following steps:
- obtain authorization to access the files, preferably written in Czech;
- send a letter to the Czech police requesting copies of the police file;
- if no reply has been received in two months, submit a complaint to the "superior authority" (8 Feb. 2012).
However, the lawyer was not sure whether the police would cooperate with such a request (League of Human Rights 8 Feb. 2012).
The Police indicate on their website that copies of reports are made at a person's "own cost" (Czech Republic 2010). The League of Human Rights lawyer noted that to make photocopies of a police report costs the equivalent of about C$2.70 per page (8 Feb. 2012). However, one can also make copies using a camera without being charged (League of Human Rights 8 Feb. 2012). In contrast, the ombudsman's representative said that there are no fees charged for a copy of a complaint that had been submitted to the police (Czech Republic 9 Feb. 2012).
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Czech Republic. 9 February 2012. Public Defender of Rights. Correspondence from a representative to the Research Directorate.
_____. 2010. Police of the Czech Republic. "Complaints."
League of Human Rights. 8 February 2012. Correspondence from a lawyer to the Research Directorate.
_____. N.d. "Our Mission."
Additional Sources Consulted
Oral sources: A lawyer in Prague, the Ministry of Interior, the Complaints Department and the Prevention and Information Division of the Police of the Czech Republic, and the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Ottawa did not reply within the time constraints of this Response.
A lawyer at the Penal Register in Prague, Pro Bono Aliance, and a Toronto-based lawyer specializing in immigration could not provide information for this Response.
Internet sites, including: Czech Republic — Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Police, Public Defender of Rights; HG Legal Directories; Pro Bono Aliance.