The powers of police

in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The powers of police officers in Bosnia and Herzegovina are regulated by the laws on police officials and the laws on criminal procedure. The laws on police officials exist at all levels of government, while laws on criminal procedure exist at the state and entity levels and at the level of the Brčko District of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

This website presents basic information on police powers defined in the laws on police officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is important to emphasize that the provisions of these laws, especially in the parts related to police powers, are for the most part harmonized. Also, these are powers that are the foundation of police work, ie powers that are mainly used to prevent crimes and maintain public order and peace. Thus, it could be said that the powers defined in the laws on police officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina are the ones that citizens most often encounter in their relations with police officers. On the other hand, criminal procedure laws define powers, such as special investigative measures used to prevent the most serious forms of crime (for example, terrorism or organized crime).

In general, the work of police officers is based on the constitutions, laws and other regulations which apply in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It is important to emphasize that, in the performance of their duties, a police officer acts in an impartial and lawful manner, guided by the public interest to serve and assist the public, promoting the development and preservation of democratic practice in accordance with the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Basic principles of the use of police powers defined in the laws on police officials in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The police officer uses police powers according to his own decision in accordance with the law, as well as on the basis of a lawful order of the superior officer or the competent authority. A police officer will not execute an order if he/she would thereby commit a criminal offense under the criminal legislation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Prior to applying the power, the police officer has an obligation to identify himself/herself. He does this by presenting an official police ID or police badge. However, if the identification may endanger the safety of the police official or another person, or it may compromise the achievement of the legitimate aim that justifies the use of police powers, a police official can use other means of identification or postpone the identification.. When the above circumstances are eliminated, the police officer is obliged to identify himself!

The application of police powers must be appropriate and proportional to the need for which it is undertaken. Police powers apply by the means of which the lawful aim may be achieved with the least harmful consequences and within the shortest possible time.

Select one of the levels of government in Bosnia and Herzegovina to familiarize yourself with police powers in accordance with the relevant law on police officials or the “Laws” field to access their full content.

State level

Brčko District BiH

FBiH & Cantons

Republic of Srpska


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