Respect for the ethics of security

Ensuring the rules of professional conduct are followed by security officials

The rules of professional conduct governing the work of public and private security officials alike are set forth in various codes and charters. They cover such matters as professional secrecy and discretion, integrity, discernment, impartiality, respect for the population and rules governing the use of force for example.

In France, the Defender of Rights is the authority in charge of ensuring these rules of good practice are followed.

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Défenseur des droits
Libre réponse 71120
75342 Paris CEDEX 07

The role of the defender of rights

Who can file a claim?

  • Any individual (an individual) or legal entity (a company ...) who has been the victim of a criticism by a security professional
  • His "rightful claimants" (wife or husband, children, parents ...)
  • A witness of facts that could constitute a breach of the rules of good conduct
  • A French parliamentarian or a French elected member of the European Parliament
  • A foreign institution that has the same functions as the Defender of Rights

The Defender of rights can seize himself when he considers that his intervention is necessary.

Which professionals are concerned?

  • National and municipal police officers
  • Gendarmes
  • Prison administration staff
  • Customs officers
  • Public transport surveillance officers
  • Private security service officials

For what types of professional misconduct?

  • Disproportionate use of force
  • Offensive behavior (inappropriate words or gestures, insults, threats, disrespect)
  • Abusive body search
  • An identity check under abnormal circumstances
  • Not enabling a formal complaint to be lodged
  • Unfounded restraint measure or deprivation of freedom (arrest, detention, custody, detainment, etc.)

Under what circumstances can you refer to the Defender of Rights?

  • If you consider yourself to have been a victim of abusive behaviour on the part of a security professional on French soil (or if you are the victim’s beneficiary or heir)
  • If you have witnessed acts constituting such misconduct

Territorial delegates in matters of security ethics

Since 2018 September the 1st, 44 delegates in the field of security ethics are responsible for ensuring through the amicable settlement, the processing of files concerning refusals to register a complaint or inappropriate remarks concerning representatives of the police or gendarmerie.

The generalization of this service follows a period of experimentation initiated in 2015, the results of which proved very positive for all the actors since it allows an amicable response, of proximity and in a fast time.

From now on, a person who believes that he or she has been the victim of a refusal to register a complaint or inappropriate remarks by a police officer or the national gendarmerie, can turn to the delegate of the Defender of rights who will directly deal with through the mediation process or will forward it to the territorially competent delegate.

Specialized delegates in the field of security ethics are present in all the regions, metropolitan and overseas.

These delegates are specifically trained on this issue and are bound, like all territorial delegates of the Defender of Rights, to an obligation of confidentiality and impartiality. This mission of the referential territorial delegates is added to their traditional missions and is part of a process of settling disputes and consultation with local authorities.

Find a delegates near you.



You can contact the Defender of Rights if you are a victim or witness of acts committed by a representative of the order, public or private, that you consider contrary to the rules of good behavior.