Coercive measures

During the course of a preliminary investigation, the prosecutor may decide to apply various forms of coercive measures. Common coercive measures are for the police to conduct a search of premises or for the suspect to be arrested (deprived of liberty).

Searching a suspect’s premises could be important during a preliminary investigation either to look for a suspect who is wanted or in order to search for evidence. One example could be for the prosecutor to decide on the searching of an apartment in which drugs are being sold.

When the police apprehend a suspect for an offence, it is reported to the prosecutor and the police then question the suspect. After this, the prosecutor decides whether the suspect is to be arrested, i.e. deprived of his/her liberty, or released.

Arrest and detention

If the suspect is arrested, the prosecutor has three days in which to contact the court to request that the suspect be remanded in custody. Otherwise, the suspect has to be released.

A decision on arrest and detention normally requires that the subject is suspected, with probable cause, of an offence with at least one year’s imprisonment on the range of punishment. The prosecutor will decide to make an arrest if there is a risk of the suspect disappearing, continuing with his/her criminal activities or complicating investigations by, for example, removing evidence.

If there is a risk of the suspect complicating the investigations by contacting victims or witnesses, it is possible for the prosecutor to decide to restrict the suspect’s contacts with his/her surroundings while he/she is under arrest.