B. Implementation and execution of “hot pursuit”

Good Practice #6

Adopt safeguards to ensure that “hot pursuit” is conducted in accordance with applicable international law, including international human rights law, and national and local laws.

In particular, those conducting the pursuit must not take advantage of their position to engage in torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or other violations of international human rights law.


Good Practice #7

Provide clear operational parameters for “hot pursuit.”

Agreements on “hot pursuit” should be simultaneously specific—e.g., how far can the pursuing State travel into the second State as well as the terms and conditions of the pursuing officers’ actions —and flexible to allow for the dynamic and contingent nature of any “hot pursuit” situation. Given the vast distances between settlements in many border regions of the Sahel, “hot pursuit” agreements should address not only the permissible distance into a country under “hot pursuit,” but also the duration of the pursuit and how the pursuit may be conducted (e.g., overland with air or maritime support if necessary). In some cases, duration may be the preferred way to define the permissible scope of “hot pursuit.” Agreements should provide clear operational parameters and also allow for cases in which mediation may be required.


Good Practice #8

Use joint border patrols to help build trust between the police forces of both sides of the border, while facilitating rapid reaction response by the forces in place.

Police and border security forces should have direct lines of communication with their counterparts on the opposite side of their border. Joint patrols facilitate critical relationship building at multiple levels, including senior leaders who organize the patrols and among operators who must know their working-level counterparts. These joint patrols should take place on a frequent basis to ensure the legitimate establishment of trust between forces. Particularly, in the absence of fully institutionalized agreements on “hot pursuit” that are accompanied by SOPs, joint patrols are necessary to develop effective communication channels and productive working relationships. Joint patrols will also facilitate the exchange of information to enhance overall border security.


Good Practice #9

Transfer pursuit from the first State to the second State, when possible.

Early and effective tactical communication and cooperation between States is crucial. Regional States should ensure that interoperable communications systems and SOPs are in place to enable such communication and cooperation.


Good Practice #10

Clarify and document who within the government has the authority to authorize “hot pursuit.”

Given how quickly “hot pursuit” situations can unfold, determining in advance who may authorize “hot pursuit”—tactical commanders at the local level or political leaders at the national level—is essential. If the latter, consideration should be given in national frameworks to defining exceptions under which tactical commanders can authorize “hot pursuit” without permission from the central authority.


Good Practice #11

Establish a standing crisis management center or an appropriate crisis unit for cases of “hot pursuit.”

Such centers enable key decision makers to receive updates from the field and issue authorization or guidance. They will also be of use in resolving any disagreements regarding the application of “hot pursuit” agreements or consequences of pursuits (damage recovery). The crisis unit should pass operations to appropriate authorities once the criminals being pursued are arrested or detained (in custody), pending provisional or permanent resolution of issues relating to the criminal(s) pursued.