Review of police use of bodily search and search of vehicles for crime preventative purposes

JO has carried out inspections in four local police districts on how the provisions of the Police Act on bodily searches and search of vehicles for crime preventative purposes is used (see section 19, second paragraph sections 1 and 20 a of the Police Act). As part of the inspection, documentation from roughly 650 interventions have been examined and interviews have been held with individual police officers. The review is now completed with this decision, in which JO presents statements on the observations from the inspections.

JO establishes that the conditions for how coercive measures are used is being reviewed according to the wording of the Act. Thus, how the police has applied the current provisions, assessed in a general sense, does not conform with the principle of legality JO finds that such an application of the provisions is unacceptable and entails a danger to the rule of law for private citizens who are affected by the actions. JO regards this as a serious violation. However, what the review has shown does not provide JO with a basis for determining whether the coercive measures have been applied in a discriminatory way, or for the purpose of harassment, which was claimed in many reports to JO.

In June 2020, JO brought the matter to the attention of the government, suggesting an overview of current provisions. The review has shown that a review is needed. A copy of the decision is therefore sent to the government for information.

Date of decision: 2023-09-26