The Prosecution and the Police

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The prosecution and the police, together with the government, comprise the executive power. The system is hierarchical with the Ministry of Justice at the top, below the ministry is the prosecution with the public prosecutor (in the US: The District Attorney), which in many countries is regional or provincial, and below the public prosecutor are the police.

The police enforce the laws, investigate possible offences and charge people. The public prosecutors are counsel for the prosecution in criminal cases.

Tripartition of power means that neither the police nor the prosecutor has any direct influence on the decisions of the courts.

But who, then, monitors the police and ensures that they do not violate the law? This varies from country to country, and it is often a very complex legal arrangement.

In Denmark the task of ensuring that the police do not violate the law falls, in some cases, to the prosecution, and in other cases to the Ministry of Justice. But whenever there are complaints about the police, the police investigate themselves, unless a separate commission of inquiry is appointed. In cases of complaints about the Danish police, the fact that the police themselves investigate possible police violations of the law presents a recurring problem. A special authority for monitoring the police has repeatedly been suggested, but this has not happened yet.

Next chapter: A System of Checks and Balances