Investigation, provisional charge and arrest

Investigation, provisional charge and arrest


When a crime has been committed, the police will open the case for investigation if there is evidence or other information that may lead to a resolution of the crime.

In some cases, the police deem that there is no basis for investigating the matter reported, for example, because it is not a criminal offence. The police will then dismiss the report, and the case will be closed.

If the police investigate the case, they will usually begin by interviewing any persons who know or have seen something with a bearing on the case.

Read more about victim testimonies.

Read more about witness testimonies.

Read more about interviews with persons who are provisionally charged.

There may also be forensic and technical evidence for the police to investigate. This could include fingerprints, DNA traces, telecom data, or video surveillance recordings.

In the course of certain investigations, the police may perform body searches on persons who are provisionally charged or on others. Body searches may be non-intimate or intimate. The police are legally authorised to perform non-intimate body searches. An intimate body search requires court approval unless you or your defence counsel consent to the search.

A non-intimate body search may entail a search of the clothes you are wearing. If the police weigh, measure, or photograph you, or take your fingerprints or DNA, this also qualifies as non-intimate body searches.

An intimate body search entails a closer inspection of your body, for example, to find objects. 

Body searches are often performed in connection with arrests. Read more about arrest.

Provisional charge

If the police find reasonable cause to suspect that a specific person committed a crime, the police will provisionally charge that person. If you are provisionally charged, the police will tell you which crime you are charged with.

As a person provisionally charged in a criminal case, you have a number of obligations and rights about which the police will inform you.

Read more about your rights.

Read more about your options for getting a defence counsel.


The police may arrest you if you are reasonably suspected of having committed a crime.

The police may arrest you to secure your presence, to prevent you from committing further crimes, or to prevent you from influencing an investigation. This means that the arrest must be necessary.

Read more about arrest.