External body searches
Where there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that a person is carrying prohibited goods on their body, police and customs officers have powers to conduct external body searches [Customs Act 1901 (Cth) s 219Q]. Police and customs officers have the power to detain a person under these circumstances for the purpose of conducting such a search.
Where a person is suspected on reasonable grounds by a customs or police officer of internally concealing a suspicious substance they can detain the person for the purposes of conducting an internal search [Customs Act 1901 (Cth) s 219S]. An internal search must be authorised by a judge if the person has not consented [s 219V] and carried out by a medical practitioner [s 219Z].
An internal non-medical scan can be carried out if the person agrees [s 219SA].
Search must be made within 48 hours of order of detention
Where an application is made for detention for the purposes of conducting an internal search a judge or magistrate may order detention for a period of 48 hours from the time the detention began or the time the detention order was made [Customs Act 1901 (Cth) s 219T ]. Where the judge or magistrate does not make such an order the person being detained must be released immediately.
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