Translated from Icelandic:
Code of Ethics
The Icelandic police is the institution in society that engages in law enforcement in the fullest sense of the term.
This Code of Ethics covers the employees of the police, the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police, the Deputy National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police, the police chiefs, the Deputy Chief of Police, Reykjavík, the Principal of the Police Academy, police attorneys, police officers, and other police personnel, as well as the prosecutors of the office of the Chief of Police, including the office of the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police.
When the word police is used in this Code of Ethics, this refers to the institution and, as the case may be, to its personnel.
Role of the police
The role of the police is to safeguard public security and legal safety; to fight crime and work on solving offenses; aiding the general public and assisting the authorities in the execution of their work, and to maintain general peace and rule of order.
The police assist the citizens to abide by the law by means of information and sound advise.
In their work, the police are responsible towards the general public and the authorities.
Work of the police
The work of the police shall be based on the stipulations of law and other rules of law, and the instructions of work procedures that apply in Iceland, including commitments through international law.
The focus in the work of the police is on good ethics, and the employees shall be reliable and efficient professionals. They may only expect trust and respect for their work if they conduct themselves with honesty, objectivity, fairness, tact, consciousness, confidentiality and knowledge.
The police shall maintain their knowledge and competence.
Good police procedures
Police personnel shall exercise awareness in their work, and shall know their duties and responsibilities. They shall carry out their duties in a detailed and conscientious manner, and shall always exercise utmost objectivity and fairness. They shall therefore push aside their own interests in the execution of their police work.
Police personnel shall always respect persons’ equality towards the law, irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, race, economy, family or position in other respects.
Police personnel are subject to confidentiality about matters that become known to them in their work or because of their work. This applies, for example, to information about persons’ private matters that shall be confidential; information pertaining to the work procedures of the police and pending police actions, and other information that shall be confidential according to law, the police rules of procedure, and the nature of matters.
Police personnel are not permitted to provide unauthorized parties, within or outside of the police force, with any kind of police data.
Police personnel shall not express themselves in the news media except as provided for in the instructions by the National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police regarding communications between the police and the news media, and, as the case may be, according to the instructions of the Chief of Police.
Police personnel shall ensure that persons are not subjected to damage, inconvenience or loss in excess of what is unavoidable in view of the circumstances. They shall be able to provide valid arguments for the lawfulness of unavoidable measures that are entailed in the use of power or force of any kind, which must always be based on necessity for realizing a lawful objective.
A suspect shall not be subjected to hardship in excess of what law stipulates and what is deemed as necessary in order to address protests against lawful measures, or in any other way exercise unlawful force against a suspect, verbally or physically, for example, with the use of threats.
Police personnel are obligated to abide by the lawful orders of their superiors in respect of their work, and to conscientiously carry them out, provided they do not oppose their ethics.
Police personnel are responsible for their actions in their work and the instructions issued their subordinates.
Supervisors shall, to the extent possible, create appropriate circumstances for their subordinates to facilitate them being able to conscientiously carry out their duties.
Police personnel shall fight corruption within the police, and shall notify their supervisors if they learn of such corruption.
Police personnel shall exercise moderation and fairness in their comments about their colleagues, as well as about other persons, for example, by refraining from participating in gossip or libeling them or other persons. Police personnel shall thus seek to create a positive atmosphere within the police.
Police personnel shall not accept gifts in connection with their work. They shall notify their supervisor if they are offered bribes in connection with their police work.
Police personnel are unauthorized in their work to investigate or aid in the investigation of their own matters or those of their relatives or friends, unless their involvement is necessary for the protection of human lives or because of pending hazards, or because a delay in taking measures may result in their objectives not being realized. In the instance of such involvement, the employee shall notify his/her supervisor.
Police personnel shall ensure that they do nothing in their work or outside of their work that may generally cast a light of doubt upon their objectivity in the execution of their police duties.
Criminal investigation by the police
The police shall respect that any person who is suspected of punishable acts is innocent until proven guilty. A suspect shall thus be treated with consideration, and the police shall exercise confidentiality about their intervention in the affairs of a suspect.
The police shall only launch a criminal investigation when there exists grounded suspicion on punishable acts having been committed.
The police shall equally investigate the factors that indicate a suspect’s guilt and innocence.
The police may not present in evidence data that has been dishonestly obtained.
The police shall never allow an unauthorized party, businesses, pressure groups in society or public institutions affect whether or how a criminal investigations takes place.
This Code of Ethics shall take effect immediately.
Reykjavík, 26 June 2003
The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police