The legislative powers of the police to stop individuals

The main applicable norms in the matter regarding the police’s powers are to be found in the Law no. 218/2002 regarding the Romanian Police. These norms regarding the police are accompanied by detailed dispositions from the Romanian Criminal Procedural Code. The relevant sections of Law no. 218/2002 are found in Chapter V, legal powers and obligations, articles 31and 41.

Article 31 gives police officers powers to check the identity of those believed to be causing or about to cause a breach of the law. Where identity cannot be established, the person can be ‘retained’ (not arrested) for up to 24 hours to establish identity. Force may be used if the person resists. Article 31(f) also allows officers to stop and search vehicles suspected of being involved in a criminal offence. Article 31 expressly obliges officers to have regard to the Human Rights of the persons concerned. Article 41 specifies that officers must present their ID/badge.

In addition, Government Decision no. 1391/2006 regarding the approval of the Rules applicable to Government Emergency Ordinance no 195/2002 regarding the traffic circulation on public roads. Article 182 specifies that vehicle stops should be used following a breach of traffic rules or when there is reasonable evidence that an offence has been committed and the stop is necessary to identify those involved or find items.

Section 2 of the Criminal Procedure Code then details the ways in which searches, pursuant to the powers above, are to be conducted. Article 165 specifies a search can be made of the exterior of a person’s body, oral cavity, nose, ears, hair, clothing and objects a person has with them or are under their control at the time of the search. Article 166 specifies that the person’s human rights must be respected. The person should first be asked to hand over the item being searched for and, if they do so, then no search should be conducted. A search should be conducted by someone of the same gender. A report must then be completed, detailing the persons involved, the time and place, items searched for, circumstances etc. Each page must be signed by the officer an the person searched and copy given to them. Article 167 then specifies that a vehicle search shall include the exterior and interior and be conducted in the same manner.

The obligation to register stops

Beyond the individual records of a search, records are kept of identity checks. Information on the numbers of checks can be requested for the past year.

Legislation procedures which protect citizens from police offences

The Romanian Criminal Code provides three legal definitions for different offences that may be committed by public officers. Article 283, Unlawful Repression, concerns actions taken to investigate or detain a person when an officer knows them to be innocent.. Article 296, Abuse Conduct, concerns the use of abusive language or the threat or use of force in the course of carrying out a professional duty. Article 297, Abuse in Office, concerns the failure to carry out duties in an appropriate manner or discriminating against people on the grounds of gender, race, sexuality, etc. A complaint may be made by a third party who is aware of the incident. A magistrate, on being informed of a complaint, undertakes the investigation in the normal manner.