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REPUBLIC OF LITHUANIA

LAW

ON POLICE ACTIVITIES

17 October 2000 No. VIII-2048

Vilnius

(As amended by 12 December 2000 No. IX – 74)

CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL PROVISIONS

Article 1. Objective of the Law

This Law shall establish the purpose, principles and legal bases of the activities of the police of Lithuania (hereinafter referred to as “the police”), goals of the police, organisational structure, fundamentals of co-operation between the police and the population, public organisations, local authorities and other institutions, as well as the powers, rights, duties, responsibility and conditions of the legality of coercion use, sources and forms of financing police bodies.

Article 2. Main Definitions

1. “Police” means the totality of police bodies and officers ensuring public safety and order.

2. “Police institution” means a legal person established in the manner prescribed by this and other laws, performing police tasks assigned by laws, foundation and other legal documents.

3. “Police officer” means a citizen of the Republic of Lithuania admitted as a statutory public servant to a police body and with public administration powers with respect to persons who are not subordinate to him.

4. “Group of increased risk persons” means persons who, in the manner prescribed by legal acts, are on prevention registers of health care institutions or the police.

5. “Status of the police officer” means a sum total of rights and duties in the service as defined by this and other laws, stipulated by legal acts regulating the recruitment and dismissal of a police officer from the public service, his rights, duties, responsibility, remuneration, social and other guarantees.

Article 3. Legal Bases for Police Activities

The police shall observe the Constitution, this and other laws of the Republic of Lithuania, international agreements of the Republic of Lithuania, the Police Service Statute and other legal acts.

Article 4. Principles of Police Activities

1. The police shall, in compliance with laws and other legal acts, impartially protect all persons who are in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, regardless of their nationality, race, sex, language, origin, social status, religious beliefs, convictions or views.

2. Police activities shall be based on the principles of democracy, respect for human rights, humanism, morals of society, lawfulness, professional openness, as well as on the principles of the use of coercion only when necessary and proportionality thereof.

3. The police and police officers shall not participate in political activities. Police officers may not be members of political parties or political organisations.

Article 5. Police Tasks

1. The main tasks of the police shall be as follows:

2. Other laws may set another tasks for the police.

3. Other laws may establish characteristics of the implementation of police tasks in diplomatic missions, military territories and other facilities of special legal regime.

Article 6. Publicity of Police Activities

1. Without violating the interests of an individual and society, who are protected by the law, the police shall, in the manner prescribed by legal acts, inform State and local authorities, as well as the population about its activities.

2. Upon a person’s request, the police must, in the manner prescribed by the Government, furnish non-confidential information concerning the said person, which is stored in the police information systems. It shall be prohibited to disclose personal information to other persons, unless otherwise provided for by laws and other legal acts.

3. The police may not furnish or publicly announce information which is considered to be a State, professional, commercial, trade or bank secret, except for the cases provided for by the law. Information acquired in the line of duty, which would be harmful to the honour, dignity or safety of a person, lawful interests of natural and legal persons, obstruct the prevention, detection of criminal acts or commission the committing thereof.

4. The police shall not furnish information, which would violate presumption of innocence, norms of police ethics, interests of security of the individual, the public or the State.

Article 7. Competence of the Minister of the Interior

The Minister of the Interior shall be a State politician setting main trends of police strategy when implementing the Government Programme. The Minister of the Interior shall:

Article 8. Police Co-operation with Other State Institutions, Local Authorities and the Population

1. The Police shall co-operate with law-enforcement institutions in the manner prescribed by laws, legal acts and heads of law-enforcement institutions.

2. While seeking to ensure individual’s and public’s safety and order, the police shall co-operate with other State institutions and local authorities when implementing crime control and prevention programmes and otherwise involving public organisations and residents in such activities. The police shall co-operate with public organisations and individual persons in the manner prescribed by laws and other legal acts.

3. The police shall support legal education programmes of various forms, promote legal knowledge at educational institutions, mass media and printing activities.

Article 9. Police and the Mass Media

1. The police shall co-operate with the mass media in the manner prescribed by the law.

2. The police may establish means of mass communication, which would inform the population about the implementation of measures pertaining to the prevention of criminal acts and other violations of law, as well as the implementation of other tasks of the police, and would announce other information, related to police activities.

Article 10. Control of Police Activities         

1. The Minister of the Interior and institutions authorised for that matter shall, in the manner prescribed by the law, exercise control over police activities.

2. The Police Commissioner General shall establish the procedure of internal control of police bodies.

CHAPTER TWO

POLICE SYSTEM

Article 11. Police System

1. The police system shall consist of:

2. Territorial police bodies shall be police commissariats, which carry out the functions, attributed to them by legal acts, in the established territory.

3. Police professional training institutions shall be police professional training divisions, established by the Police Commissioner General, which ensure constant professional improvement of police officers.

4. Specialised police bodies shall be police divisions established on a non-territorial principle, which carry out certain (special) police functions assigned to them by legal acts.  

Article 12. Police Commissioner General

1. The Police Commissioner General shall head the Police Department.

2. The Police Commissioner General shall:

3. Orders and instructions of the Police Commissioner General shall be mandatory for police officers who are subordinate to him. He shall have the right to revoke unlawful decisions adopted by subordinate police officers, except for the decisions in administrative and criminal cases.

4. At the proposal of the Minister of the Interior and on the recommendation of the Government, the Police Commissioner General shall be appointed for a five-year term of office and dismissed by the President of the Republic. The Police Commissioner General shall be directly subordinate to the Minister of the Interior and accountable to the President of the Republic.

5. The Police Commissioner General may be a person who is not younger than 35 years of age, has received a master’s of law qualification degree or single-stage higher legal or equivalent education and has worked as chief or senior commissar, usually not less than three years.

6. The Police Commissioner General may be removed from office:

7. Upon the expiration of the term of office of the Police Commissioner General or upon being dismissed of his own volition, he shall continue holding office until the appointment of another police commissioner general.

Article 13. Police Department

1. The Police Department shall be a police body which assists the Police Commissioner General to form a strategy of police activities and control its implementation, as well as to organise and implement the management of police bodies.

2. The Police Department shall:

3. The Government shall set up the Police Department.

Article 14. Territorial Police Bodies

1. Territorial police bodies shall consist of police headquarters of a higher level and police units of a lower level.

2. Police headquarters of a higher level shall be established in county centres and ensure the implementation of police tasks in the whole county territory. The said police headquarters shall:

3. Police headquarters servicing county territories may also, beside the powers provided for in paragraph 2 of this Article, service the territory of the municipality in which they are located, carrying out the tasks and functions of the police units of a lower level.

4. The police headquarters of a higher level may be founded to service the territory of the municipality of the City of Vilnius - the capital of the Republic of Lithuania. Such police headquarters shall carry out the tasks and functions provided for in paragraph 6 of this Article.

5. Police headquarters of a higher level shall be responsible and accountable to the Police Commissioner General.

6. Police units of a lower level shall be established in administrative centres of municipalities to service territories of appropriate municipalities. Such police units shall:

7. Territorial police bodies shall be headed by police officers who are appointed and dismissed by the Police Commissioner General.

8. Upon the joint decision of the police officer who heads a territorial police body and the municipal mayor, police stations may be established to service separate territories of municipalities. Police units as structural subdivisions of police headquarters of a higher level may also be established to service parts of municipal territories. Police stations and other subdivisions may be established for the implementation of separate police tasks and functions.

9. When appointing heads of territorial police bodies to office, their candidatures shall be co-ordinated with the head of respective county or the municipal mayor.

10. This Law, laws and other legal acts regulating the service in the police shall establish the procedure and grounds for the appointment and dismissal of police officers.

Article 15. Training of Police Officers

1. The preparation of police officers for the implementation of police tasks shall comprise the training of police officers at educational institutions of the Ministry of Education and Science and professional education of police officers at police institutions - qualification improvement centres.

2. Educational institutions training police officers in accordance with the study programme approved in a prescribed manner, provide education and professional knowledge necessary for the enforcement of police tasks. Relations between educational institutions and the Police Department shall be based on a co-operation agreement.

3. Professional education of police officers at police institutions - qualification improvement centres - shall be organised by the Police Department in accordance with special professional education programmes.

CHAPTER THREE

POWERS, RIGHTS, DUTIES AND

RESPONSIBILITY OF THE POLICE OFFICER   

Article 16. Powers of the Police Officer

1. This and other laws shall grant the police officer the right to request that, when carrying out police tasks, persons who are not directly subordinate to him, would carry out his lawful instructions, and to use coercion in the case of their non-compliance or resistance.

2. When exercising the powers granted to them, police officers shall observe only the law. Law-based requests of police officers shall be obligatory to all natural and legal persons. Persons shall be held liable for non-compliance with such requests in the manner prescribed by the law.

3. Heads of the police body shall have the right to change unlawful decisions of police officers subordinate to them, or to suspend the implementation of such decisions in the manner prescribed by laws and other legal acts.

Article 17. Granting of Status of the Police Officer

1. Status of the police officer shall be granted to a person who is accepted to the service in the police in the manner prescribed by laws and other legal acts.

2. Temporary status of the police officer shall be granted to person who is accepted to the police reserves or a police professional training institution in the prescribed manner, when appointing him to a concrete position in the police body and only during the performance of official duties. The conditions and procedure of the acceptance to the police reserves shall be established by regulations of the police reserves of the Republic of Lithuania, which are approved by the Minister of the Interior.

3. An official identification card, special dress (uniform) or a special police identification emblem shall prove status of the police officer.

Article 18. General Rights of the Police Officer

1. When ensuring the implementation of police tasks assigned to him, the police officer shall have the right:

2. The police officer shall have other rights granted to him by the law.

Article 19. Rights of the Police Officer when Carrying out the Prevention of Criminal Acts and other Law Violations

1. While preventing criminal acts and other law violations, the police officer shall have the right:

Article 20. Rights of the Police Officer when Detecting or Investigating a Criminal Act

While investigating a criminal act or possessing information that such an act is being planned, is carried out or has been carried out, the police officer shall, in the manner and on the basis established by legal acts, have the right:

Article 21. Duties of Police Officers

1. The police officer must:

2. The police officer must also perform other duties provided for by the law.

3. The police officer must identify himself while performing official duties. In the event that the police officer does not have distinguishing police marks (special dress (uniform) or a special official emblem) or upon a personal request, the police officer must present his official identification card.

Article 22. Responsibility of Police Officers

1. Police officers shall be personally liable for their own actions and decisions, and the consequences thereof.

2. Police officers who violate the requirements of the law in the execution of their duties shall, in accordance with the procedure established by laws and other legal acts, be subject to disciplinary, administrative, material, or criminal liability, depending on the nature of the violation.

3. A police officer who executes an knowingly unlawful order or directive shall not be relieved of responsibility.

4. The State shall, in accordance with the procedure established legal acts, compensate for damage inflicted on natural or legal persons by the unlawful actions of a police officer.

5. Police officers who act in accordance with the powers granted to them by laws and other legal acts, shall not be held responsible for damages inflicted when acting in accordance with the powers granted by laws and other legal acts.

CHAPTER FOUR

USE OF FIREARMS, PHYSICAL AND OTHER COERCION

Article 23. Types of Coercion and Conditions of the Use Thereof

1. The police officer shall have the right to use coercion when it is necessary to prevent violations of law, to apprehend the persons who have committed said violations, as well as in other cases when protecting and defending lawful interests of an individual, society, the State. Coercion which might cause bodily injuries or death , may be used to the extent which is necessary for the fulfilment of the official duty, and only after all possible measures of persuasion or other measures have been used with no effect. The type of coercion and the limits of the use thereof shall be selected by the police officer, taking into account the concrete situation, nature of the violation of law and individual features of the offender. When using coercion, police officers must seek to avoid detrimental consequences.

2. The police officer may, in the manner and cases provided for by the law, use mental or physical coercion, a firearm and explosives.

3. When used in this Law, mental coercion shall mean as a warning about an intention to use physical coercion, a firearm or explosives. Demonstration of a firearm and warning shots shall be regarded as mental coercion, however, such measures of mental coercion may be used only in the presence of the conditions laid down in paragraph 2 of Article 24 of this Law.

4. When used in this Law, physical coercion shall mean:

5. Before using physical coercion or a firearm, the police officer must warn the person about his intention, providing the said person with a possibility to fulfil lawful requirements, with the exception of the cases when delaying poses a threat to the life or health of the police officer or another person, or when such warning is impossible.

6. If the police officer does not carry special equipment or a firearm with him, he may use any additional measures necessary to repel an attempt or to liquidate sources of threat.

7. The police officer who has used coercion without violating the requirements of this Law, but who has inflicted damage on the valuables protected by the law, shall not be held liable.

8. The prosecutor’s office shall be immediately informed about the use by the police officer of coercion, which has caused individual’s death or injuries.

9. Police officers must undergo special training and periodically checked if they are able to act in the situations related to the use of physical coercion, firearms or explosives.

Article 24. Basis for the Use of Physical Coercion

1. The police officer shall have the right to use physical coercion:

2. It shall be prohibited to use methods of combat wrestling and special equipment against women who are obviously pregnant, as well as against persons when they are visibly disabled or minors (if the police officer knows their age or if their appearance corresponds to their age, with the exception of cases when they resist in a manner which is dangerous to life or health, or a group of such persons attack and this attack poses a threat to life or health).

Article 25. Use of Firearms

1. When other coercive measures are ineffective, the police officer shall have the right to use a firearm as an extraordinary measure.

2. The police officer shall have the right to use a firearm against persons in the following cases:

3. The police officer shall have the right to use a firearm against means of transport and animals.

4. It shall be prohibited to use a firearm in public gathering places, if it endangers innocent people; against women who are obviously pregnant, as well as against persons who are visibly disabled, against minors, if the police officer knows their age or their appearance corresponds to their age, except in cases when said persons resist in a manner dangerous to human life or health or a group of such persons attacks and this attack poses a threat to life or health.

Article 26. Use of Explosives

Without posing a threat to human life, the police officer shall have the right to use explosives to destroy explosive devices to enter facilities (a place) where hostages are being kept or where other criminal acts posing a threat to human life or health.

Article 27. Guarantees of Personal Security of the Armed Police Officer

1. The police officer shall have the right to take out a forearm from the holster and prepare it for use where he thinks that he might have to use it in a concrete situation.

2. The police officer shall, without posing a threat to the valuables protected by the law, have the right to fire from a firearm, when it is necessary to give alarm signals, to call help or warn about possible use of a firearm.

3. The police officer shall have the right to use physical or mental coercion when a person who is being arrested or who is arrested, tries to use force or gets closer to the police officer and does not obey officer’s demand to keep his distance as directed or attempts to seize a firearm from the police officer. If the used coercive measures appear to be ineffective or their use is not possible because of the intensity of actions carried out by the person, or delaying poses a threat to the police officer’s life, the police officer may use a firearm.

CHAPTER FIVE

POLICE FINANCING

Article 28. The Financing of the Police

1. The police shall be financed from the State budget. The Police Department shall have a separate estimate of costs.

2. By agreement of territorial police bodies and local authorities, joint programmes shall be drawn up and implemented, intended for crime prevention, protection of person’s life, health and property, as well as public order, and financed from municipal budgets. Local authorities may also finance from their budgets other programmes implemented by territorial police bodies, related to the ensuring of security of the local population.

3. Other non-budgetary funds, received in the manner prescribed by the law, may be used for the financing of the police.

CHAPTER SIX

FINAL PROVISIONS

Article 29. Invalid Legal Acts

Upon the coming into force of this Law, the following legal acts shall become invalid:

I promulgate this Law passed by the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania.

PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC

VALDAS ADAMKUS