Searches on and of the body
We carry out a body search or a cursory body inspection when there is reason to believe that there are items in your clothes or on your body that can be seized. A body search involves a doctor checking the body's cavities. This requires a prosecutor order.
Role of Swedish Customs
Swedish Customs is responsible for combating smuggling of, among other things, drugs that are prohibited from being brought into Sweden, and for checking drugs that are subject to import conditions (known as restricted or prohibited goods). Narcotics, hormone preparations (doping agents), other goods dangerous to health, and medications are examples of goods that may not be brought into Sweden indiscriminately. They are also examples of goods that are sometimes smuggled in or on the body, by so-called body smugglers.
There are different types of checks on and of the body, and of the clothes a person is wearing.
A body search is a check of the clothes a person is wearing. The purpose of conducting a body search is that there is reason to believe that there are items in the clothing that can be seized. A body search can be carried out at any time during a customs inspection, and should preferably be carried out indoors in a separate room or in an appropriate space.
External body search
A strip search is an inspection of the naked body. The customs official shall not touch the naked body. The purpose of conducting a superficial body search is that there is reason to believe that there are objects on the naked body that can be seized. A superficial body search may be carried out at any time during a customs inspection, and should preferably be carried out indoors in a private room or in an appropriate space.
The customs officer also has the power to demand a urine sample if there is reason to believe that there are objects on the body that are prohibited from being brought into Sweden.
Body inspection is the most comprehensive check of the body. During a body search, for example, the inside of the mouth or other cavities on the body are X-rayed or examined. An order from the public prosecutor is required to carry out a body search on a person.
A body search is always carried out by a doctor, and never by a customs official.
The purpose of conducting a protective search on a person is to look for dangerous objects for security reasons, for example before transport or movement. In order to conduct a protective search, there must be suspicion of a violation of the Swedish Smuggling Act or another law listed in Section 1 of that Act. This means, for example, that the customs officer conducts the protective search after an item has been seized during a customs inspection.
Role of other authorities
To carry out a body search, i.e., to X-ray or examine cavities on the body, on a person requires an order from a public prosecutor.
Powers of Swedish Customs
- The power of a customs officer to order body searches, superficial body inspections and urine sampling, etc., is found in Section 27 of the Swedish Smuggling Penalties Act (2000:1225) (also known as the Swedish Smuggling Act).
- Powers relating to body searches can be found in Section 29 of the Swedish Smuggling Penalties Act (2000:1225) and Chapter 12 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.