Customs Act 2015


Power to search persons

30. (1) An officer of customs who with reasonable cause suspects that a person at or in the vicinity of any port or airport, the coast, the land frontier, or any premises or land the subject of a search warrant issued under section 29, or on board a conveyance that has been boarded under section 27, is in possession of—

(a) anything liable to forfeiture under the Customs Acts, or

(b) any records relating to transactions in contravention of the Customs Acts,

may, subject to subsection (2), without warrant—

(i) search the person and, if the officer considers it necessary for that purpose, detain the person for such time as is reasonably necessary for carrying out the search, and

(ii) examine, by opening or otherwise, and seize and detain anything found in the course of the search which appears to the officer to be something which may be required as evidence in proceedings for an offence under the Customs Acts or any other enactment.

(2) An officer conducting a search of a person under subsection (1) shall ensure that—

(a) as far as practicable, the person being searched understands the reason for the search and that it is conducted with due respect for that person,

(b) the person, unless consent is so given, shall not be searched by an officer or other person (who is not a registered medical practitioner or a registered nurse), of another sex, and

(c) where the search of the person involves removal of clothing, other than headgear or a coat, jacket, glove or similar article of clothing, no other officer or person of another sex shall be present unless either that person is a registered medical practitioner or a registered nurse, or the officer considers that the presence of that person is necessary by reason of the violent conduct of the person being searched.

(3) An officer of customs who decides to search a person under this section may require the person to accompany such officer to a customs office or to such other place as may be specified by that officer for the purpose of being so searched at that office or other place, and may arrest without warrant any person who fails to comply with this requirement.

(4) A requirement mentioned in subsection (3) shall remain in force until the search in relation to which it is made is completed, but such search shall be carried out as soon as is practicable.

(5) Where an officer of customs has reasonable grounds to suspect that a person is in possession of a controlled drug or other thing which is concealed internally, then such officer may detain the person and, as soon as is practicable thereafter—

(a) present the person, or

(b) bring and present the person,

to a member of the Garda Síochána.

(6) In this section—

“registered nurse” means a nurse whose name is registered in—

(a) the register of nurses established under section 27 of the Nurses Act 1985, or

(b) the nurses division of the register of Nurses and Midwives established under section 46 of the Nurses and Midwives Act 2011;

“registered medical practitioner” means a registered medical practitioner within the meaning of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007.