Help us reach our target of 10,000 signatures!
Statement of Support by Law Enforcement Agents for Harm Reduction and Related Policies for HIV Prevention
This Statement of Support is signed by serving and former law enforcement agents in support of policies and practices for effective policing of communities for controlling the epidemic of HIV among key populations and the broader community, ameliorating harmful impacts of the inappropriate application of criminal and administrative laws, stigmatization and discrimination to which key populations are exposed.
The Role of law enforcement agencies in relation to HIV.
1. Historically, law enforcement agencies have always played an essential role in the protection and maintenance of public health. Currently, preventing the spread of HIV is a major public health challenge in which law enforcement plays a critical role. As part of the response, harm reduction policies and practices are pragmatic and comprehensive, evidence-based approaches which have proven successful in reducing the spread of HIV throughout the world (see Appendix 3).
2. The prevention and reduction of crime and enhanced community safety are important goals and benefits of harm reduction programs. Even where behaviours are unlawful, law enforcement agencies can have a significant impact in creating an environment enabling key populations to protect both themselves and the community from harm, including HIV.
3. Law enforcement agencies as key partners in implementation of these programs are in a position to facilitate access to HIV prevention and treatment services. Law enforcement agencies (particularly the police and prison services) can make a significant contribution to improving public health by actively participating in and supporting these programs.
4. Law enforcement and health sectors should work in partnership to develop and support legislation, policy and practice that facilitate the common goals of HIV prevention through enhancing community safety and crime reduction. Directly and through more appropriate allocation of law enforcement and health resources they enhance the ability of law enforcement agencies to achieve their goals of crime prevention, crime reduction and community safety.
Key principles of support
The undersigned believe the following principles are critical to policing key populations:
1. Support for interventions for HIV prevention among and from people who use drugs, sex workers, men who have sex with men and other key populations.
2. Support for all services oriented at reducing the harms associated with illicit drug use (e.g. prevention of drug overdose deaths).
3. Support for a health and rights-based approach to sex work, and all services oriented at reducing the harms experienced by sex workers (e.g. violence and the transmission of sexually transmitted infections).
4. Support for the appropriate use of administrative or criminal laws in ways which do not undermine HIV prevention programs among key populations.
5. Facilitate access to HIV/drug/sexually transmitted infection prevention, treatment and care services, including by adult and juvenile referral mechanisms.
6. Identification and application of alternatives to arrest and prosecution in appropriate cases, reducing costs to their own and other criminal justice agencies, reducing incarceration rates and divert vulnerable individuals
from other unintended harmful consequences of the criminal justice system.
7. Support for comprehensive law enforcement training and education strategies, policy development and realistic performance indicators to ensure all individuals have access to essential HIV services.
Please note that this petition is only for police and law enforcement officers to show your support!
If you are signing on behalf of a law enforcement organisation, please enter the details in the comments section and it will be recorded.
Law Enforcement and HIV Network