Custodial search policy clarified

August 27, 2019

Police always respect the dignity, privacy and rights of people under custody.

Police Public Relations Branch Chief Superintendent Tse Chun-chung made the statement at a press conference today in response to public concern over how police officers deal with female detainees.
“Our baseline is that we always respect the dignity, privacy and rights of people under police custody.
“A custodial search is conducted on all detainees to ensure their safety, as well as the safety of others, who may come into contact with them.
“This means we have to ensure that they do not have any dangerous objects on their bodies or they do not keep any articles of evidential value.”
He noted there are three levels of a custodial search: the first level requires no undressing, the second calls for some clothes removed and the third involves the removal of underwear.
While the scope of a custodial search is determined by duty officers case by case, officers will provide all detainees with a search document and explain why they are being searched.
A search must be conducted, witnessed and supervised by officers of the same sex as the detainee, Mr Tse added.
“There are also certain online rumours that a detained person experienced sexual harassment from police officers while in custody.
“We have looked into the records and I must emphasise that such rumours are totally false. Also we have not received any formal reports or complaints.”

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