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Short background introduction
The Ertzaintza has always sought to be known for their professionalism, excellence in dealing with citizens and desire to improve, so as to provide the best possible service to society as the recipient of their services.
In 1999 they decided to take a further step forward. When the Minister of the Interior of the Basque Government at that time appeared in Parliament at the start of his term of office, he set the development of a quality system based on UNE-EN-ISO standards as an objective, so as to continuously improve the services provided to society. To achieve that objective they implemented internal control mechanisms, established and recorded the internal regulations that would govern the performance of the officers and developed tools to detect and solve problems within the system, find out the opinions of the people in the service and measure the level of compliance with the objectives set by the Management of the Ertzaintza for the different processes.
These endeavours culminated in 2002, when the police station of Bilbao was awarded the ISO 9001:1994 quality certification for the arrest process by the independent certifying entity AENOR. The excellent results obtained led to the new working methodology being extended to the other police stations. It was implemented in all of them in 2004. Since then, the successive renewal and expansion of the quality certification has further confirmed the high performance and the good work that this police force has been carrying out since it was established.
To see the implementation timeline of this process as well as the steps that have been taken from the start to the present, click here.
1999: The first process based on the UNE-EN ISO standard started. The Department decided to begin with the Arrest process, that is, the activities involved in the arrest and custody of a detainee. The basis was Instruction 29 of the Vice-Ministry of Security, to which the requirements of the standard were applied, as well as the commitments and recommendations from various bodies and institutions such as Ararteko, Emakunde, Osakidetza, etc.
1999-2000: The various aspects of the ISO standard were analyzed and addressed with a view to complying with the requirements established in the standard.
2001: Dissemination and implementation of the system at the police station of Bilbao, which served as the pilot unit. The first internal audits were conducted over the year.
December 2002: AENOR certified the quality system for the process relating to the arrest and custody of detainees at the police station of Bilbao under the ISO 9001: 1994 standard in place at that time.
2003: Implementation of the system for detainees at the police stations of Vitoria-Gasteiz and Donostia-San Sebastian. The model was adapted to the new ISO 9001:2000 standard and the certification was renewed.
2004: The quality system of the arrest process was disseminated and implemented in all the police stations as well as the Traffic Units of the Ertzaintza (30 units).
2005: Work began on the development of new processes under the ISO standard, such as the actions relating to Domestic and Gender Violence and those of the Explosives Disposal Unit. It must be noted that, in addition to developing several processes under the general 9001:2000 standard, the Scientific Police focused its endeavours on obtaining Accreditation to 17025:2005 standard from ENAC (National Accreditation Entity) for different tests (DNA in Forensic Genetics and Fingerprinting in Person Identification), as this standard is specific for laboratory testing.
2007: The appropriate internal audits were conducted. AENOR was requested to certify the new processes to the 9001:2000 standard and ENAC was requested to accredit the Scientific Police processes to UNE-EN ISO/17025:2005 standard.
2008: In April AENOR certified the processes relating to Domestic and Gender Violence, the activities of the Explosives Disposal Unit and the physiognomic process of the Scientific Police. In September, the laboratories of the Scientific Police were awarded accreditation for the processes mentioned above (analysis and comparison of DNA profiles in the Forensic Genetics Section and comparison of fingerprints in the Person Identification Section).
2009: The scope of the certification to ISO 9001 standard in the Scientific Police was extended to the Evidence Management process.
2012: The system renewal audit was conducted and the model was adapted to ISO 9001:2008 standard. Moreover, within the sphere of the Scientific Police and under the UNE-EN ISO/17025:2005 standard, the scope was extended to include Latent Print Development in the Lophoscopy and Eye Inspection Section and Detection of Genuine-Counterfeit Euro banknotes in the Documentoscopy and Graphistics Section.
2018: The audit for renewal and adaptation to ISO 9001.2015 standard was conducted in March. Moreover, the scope of the certificate of the Explosives Disposal Unit was extended to CBRN incidents.
2019: The audit for renewal and adaptation to the UNE-EN ISO/IEC 17025:2017 standard was conducted in November.