EuroCOP are increasingly concerned about the social rights of police officers across Europe. Over the last few years, police organisations in Europe have seen the gradual erosion of their rights; rights which are not only guaranteed in international treaties such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions but are also enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (EU) as well as the European Social Charter.
In order for police officers to fully enjoy the benefits of their rights, such as just conditions of work and fair remuneration, it is of utmost importance that all obstacles hampering the exercise of police union rights and the right to freedom of expression are removed. These rights are even more important today where, in the context of the financial crisis, police officers are being asked to do more with significantly less resources.
EuroCOP is actively engaging with European policymakers to address these issues and raise awareness about the different national conditions for law enforcement employees and their organisations in EU Member States, which could lead to unequal opportunities for law enforcement employees to exercise their rights. More specifically, EuroCOP believes that:
- The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU applies equally to law enforcement officers and imbues them with the right to be a member of a trade union, including activities in elective bodies of these unions, and to negotiate and conclude collective agreements.
- As Europe struggles to emerge from the economic crisis, Member States have not only made cuts to public spending, but they have also targeted social rights including those of the police officers fighting to keep social order.
- The right to freedom of expression is the cornerstone of democratic life. The right to exercise this freedom is even more important today where, in the context of the financial crisis, police officers are being asked to do more with significantly less resources.
- The EU and its Member States must respect and enforce the values and rights encompassed by the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Social Charter and help build knowledge and understanding of their tenets amongst police forces across Europe.